Take award-winning Indian chef Narayanan Krishnan who chucked his bright future after a short visit to his home town before returning to Europe:
"I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food," Krishnan said. "It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime."
Krishnan was visiting a temple in the south Indian city of Madurai in 2002 when he saw the man under a bridge. Haunted by the image, Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny.
"That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame -- to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves," Krishnan said.
Shortly thereafter, he founded his Akshaya Trust foundation, and since 2003 has dedicated his life to feeding the predominately elderly and mentally ill poor within 125 miles of his home town. Truly selfless, Krishnan and his foundation survive on donations and a pittance of rent he gets from a home he was given by his grandfather. He does not pay himself, sleeps in the kitchen with a few other co-workers, and survives with help from his parents, who initially balked at his new career choice.
"They had a lot of pain because they had spent a lot on my education," he said. "I asked my mother, 'Please come with me, see what I am doing.' After coming back home, my mother said, 'You feed all those people, the rest of the lifetime I am there, I will feed you.' I'm living for Akshaya. My parents are taking care of me."
Krishan was nominated for- and won -one of CNN's Top Ten Heroes of 2010. And well deserved. If you feel like donating to his foundation you can donate via Paypal , or perhaps this will inspire you to donate to some organization that helps the poor in your home town.
What I admire most about Krishnan, however, is the fact that he is not only feeding the poor with food to sustain them, he is also providing them with love. Feeding Souls is as important as feeding mouths. I also love the fact that all donations go directly to helping the poor and not to administrative costs, including the huge salaries that some CEOs at charitable organizations often get. Bravo Krishan, may your organization grow and prosper.