What do you get when you collect rotis from homes and distribute them among the needy? A Roti Bank, if you will. And the idea has garnered enormous support from RWAs and Cooperative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) in East Delhi.
The initiative of Roti Bank was started by two friends, Sudhir Behrani and Raj Kumar Bhatia, in 2015 in Azadpur Mandi — on June 20, to be precise.
Behrani spoke to City Spidey about the initiative. He said, “We are urging RWAs and other federations to support the initiative, so not even a single person goes hungry in the city. In fact, many RWAs and individuals have started ‘depositing’ rotis with us.”
City Spidey came to know about Roti Bank from Deepa Gandhi, a resident of Kanungo Apartments, a CGHS in IP Extension. She recounted, “Two months ago, I noticed a small flier pasted on the society wall. It urged people to deposit rotis, and it gave two mobile numbers to call if you wanted to. I called immediately and was taken through the whole idea of Roti Bank.”
Gandhi then spoke to CB Singh, the society general secretary, about this unique endeavour. He requested all residents to deposit at least two rotis, which were later handed over to a volunteer from the Roti Bank group.
Behrani said the concept of Roti Bank took root when a man came to him looking for employment. He continued, “He did not even have money to buy food — and that got me thinking. We are not here to provide food for all, but only to those who really can't work, and are forced to starve. Many prominent schools have also extended their support to the campaign. At present, we have collected about 500 packets of roti from across the NCR.”
He added, “People who want to support us can collect rotis from their apartments during weekends and call us. Our volunteer will collect the rotis and distribute them. Right now, we don’t have any storing facilities, so we try to give out whatever we collect.”
Bhatia, co-founder of the bank, said, “Mostly, we campaign through social media. Now, we have started pasting fliers on walls of different societies. We need more support from the residents — and we also need to scale up our reach.”
He added that as many as 53 volunteers are active and collecting rotis. Though there’s no head office as such, volunteers have earmarked areas of operation.
People willing to deposit rotis can do so at Kanungo Apartments in IP Extension, while other areas of operation include Azadpur Mandi, Indra Nagar, Kailash Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Gandhi Nagar Rajori Garden, Geeta Colony and Subhash Nagar.
Residents can contact these two numbers: 9811905052, 9899441801. Information regarding the bank is also available on Facebook and at www.rotibank1.net
For more information, you can write to Roti.firstname.lastname@example.org.