Source: St. Petersburg Times
On December 11, 2003 the St. Petersburg Times reported a Hare Krishna group that has fed University of Florida students free vegetarian meals for years have now replaced the donation with a $3 price. The Krishnas say "they have no choice. Rising prices for food and insurance have made it impossible for the sect to rely strictly on the generosity of students. 'It's too bad we have to do this,' says Savyasaci Das, the director of the local Hare Krishna Center. 'But some people were taking advantage of what we were doing. We didn't have any other choice.' Students do, however, and many of them are now lunching elsewhere... If enough students adopt that philosophy - and the Krishnas say their lunch crowd already is down significantly - one of UF's older and more offbeat traditions could be nearing its end. The Krishnas began serving lunch on the Plaza of the Americas in 1971, when it was the site of frequent antiwar protests. Tens of thousands of students have eaten their rice dishes in the years since, often whiling away the time watching sect members dance and pray as they spread the teachings of Krishna, their Hindu god."