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ISLAMABAD: PepsiCo's Millions of Meals program joined hands with the Ehsaas ration program on Monday to deliver millions of meals to those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak across Pakistan.

The MoU was signed at the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) headquarters here on Monday. The signing ceremony was followed by a briefing to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of PepsiCo other companies that have partnered on this important initiative.

PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, have committed a funding of over $1.4 million to provide Millions of Meals to those in urgent need of nutrition. PepsiCo Pakistan has partnered with on ground charitable organizations to execute the program. So far, over 5.2 million meals have been distributed with the help of some of the most respected charities in the country including; RIZQ and Association for Gender Awareness & Human Empowerment (AGAHE) in Punjab, Peoples Primary Health Initiative (PPHI) in Balochistan, The Orange Tree Foundation, Network of Organisations Working for People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP) and Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT) in Sindh and Al-Khidmat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As economic activity is decelerated to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, an increasing number of people are faced with loss of income and earning opportunities. The daily wage workers are particularly vulnerable as they face an immediate loss of livelihood. In these circumstances the need for providing meals to underprivileged communities becomes the foremost requirement.

The Ehsaas Ration Program is run by the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division of the Government of Pakistan under the Prime Minister's Ehsaas program to uplift marginalized people. Under the Ehsass Ration program a digital portal has been created for donors and for those in need of meals. The portal aims to connect genuine donors directly with those in real need.

Ehsaas was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019. It is the biggest umbrella program launched in Pakistan to uplift marginalized people. Over 134 programs including the Ehsaas ration program have commenced under Ehsaas. Some of the other programs under Ehsaas include development of the National Socio-Economic Registry, One Window for social protection and livelihoods, The Kafalat Program that aims to drive digital inclusion for women, The Tahafuz Program that creates a safety net for those who suffered catastrophic events, undergraduate scholarship policy, initiatives on child stunting and The Ehsaas Amdan Program. Furqan Ahmed Syed, CEO PepsiCo Pakistan and Afghanistan commented on the partnership, 'In the wake of this unprecedented global crisis, PepsiCo is at the forefront of providing assistance to the most vulnerable communities across the world.

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