The residents of Rama Subbaiah Colony in Kavali, near Nellore, wait patiently for their turn to be served fresh, hot lunch. That day’s menu is “egg biryani, raitha and kesari,” says K Gopikrishna Kaanu, past president of RC Kavali, RID 3160. The club under its ‘One meal a day’ initiative is providing food since March to around 350 families from three slum colonies here. “Some of them wait with their children from 10 in the morning. For most of them this is the only meal for the day,” he adds.
Most of the recipients are daily wage earners and the women work as domestic help. Ever since the lockdown began, they could not go to work and have been denied wages by their employees, leaving them with no money and very little food supplies. Understanding their plight the club has been supporting these colonies with basic needs.
As the club wanted to extend its service to the homeless, “we loaded our cars with food packets and drove across the city distributing them to beggars and street dwellers.” Kaanu recalls meeting an old homeless woman who had “tears in her eyes when she received the food packet. She hesitantly asked if she should come back the next day at the same place and time to get a food packet.” The club members shifted 10 migrant families staying in makeshift tents by the highway to a government school and gave them ration kits to last a month. Similarly the club “distributed vegetable supplies and dry ration to about 7,000 underprivileged families in the town,” he says.
From April, the club has been conducting a sanitation drive and has distributed ayurvedic medicines, masks and sanitisers to about 10,000 people. “Until July, we have spent nearly ₹24 lakh for Covid-relief activities, with the members making personal donations or getting money from their friends, relatives or associates.”
Twenty-five ayurvedic camps have been conducted in the rural areas near Kavali.