The year 2020 has witnessed never-seen-before developments in the world around us and has pushed us all to a ‘new normal’. While many of us have been lucky to stay safe, many have suffered due to the unprecedented changes thrown our way while constantly tackling the perennial natural disasters. Rotarians in India have always stepped forward to support those who are overlooked even during times of need.

On World Food Day, 16 October, the focus is on leprosy.

India has more than three million people with deformities caused by leprosy. They are relegated to the margins of society and feel neglected and unwanted, living mostly in 750-odd leprosy colonies. Society largely treats them as social outcasts.

Existing social distancing recommendations as public health measures to the pandemic have worsened the already marginalized populations. Hence, it becomes crucial to reach the underprivileged sections who have been devoid of the most basic amenities of life during these tough times.

Ashcharya Khanna, President of Rotary Club of Delhi Regency Next along with other Rotarians has been running a daily Cooked Food Relief Drive in the Leprosy Colonies situated in Delhi in Lajpat Nagar and RK Puram. They are regularly distributing more than 200 cooked meals to the affected families/individuals in order to ensure food for all. Rotary has partnered with Rebel Foods to provide a well-balanced meal which is delivered by Rotary’s mobile vans. The van also distributes information material to educate people about leprosy.

The cooked food distribution drive was started in September 2020 at Satya Jeevan Leprosy Society, Lajpat Nagar and RK Puram jointly organised by Rotary Club of Delhi Regency Next, Rotary Club of Delhi South and Rotary Club of Bangalore West and will continue till December 2020.

Additionally, Rotary Club in Rajkot in February launched an innovative way to feed meals to those in need by a programme called “Roti on Wheels” wherein they are providing more than 10,000 freshly-cooked rotis every day to slum dwellers, animal shelters, civil hospital and nearby orphanages with an aim to serve hot food. These rotis are being dispensed from an automatic food machine and can make more than 1000 rotis in one hour. During the lockdown when people had a restriction on travel, Rotary members distributed more than 1 lakh rotis every day to the needy and wishes to continue the same until the year ends.

The team has taken all the necessary precautions while distributing food by maintaining social distancing and adhering to all hygiene protocols.