Not all banks deal in financial transactions, so has been proved by a bank of Karachi called the Roti Bank. It provides two free meals a day to the underprivileged people of the society.
It is a small red shop, located on the road that leads to Guru Mandir from Numaish. It offers prepared food items to the needy individuals who cannot make ends meet.
The system in the red shop is such that the employees are busy packing the food items which either comes from the kitchen of the bank or from the donations received while another worker is seen to be occupied handing out food to the hungry people.
Muhammad Asif—a security guard at some private security firm earns rupees twelve thousand a month, out of which five thousand are spent on the house rent and the remaining is not enough to run the house affairs normally. He mentioned that he and his wife used to take a single meal per day, affording two meals a day was a rarely occurring concept, but ever since they learned about this Roti Bank facility they now have two meals.
Another lady Azra—a mother of seven was also seen around the Roti Bank with her and her family’s needed documents to get a Saylani free food card for the whole month.
She mentioned that if her husband is able to make enough money, then she does not come to get free food that day so that the other needy ones may get the free food. She also added that in times like this affording two meals a day is difficult because of the ever-rising prices. She said Roti Bank is a good initiative as it is helping people to eat who cannot afford.
Muhammad Ikram—a worker at the red shop says that sometimes a white-collar worker visits and feels hesitant in taking the food but we encourage them to take it as their families would not be able to recognise (that the food is donated) as there are no markings on the packaging in order to guard their self-respect.
Ikram added that the bank’s popularity is because of the word of mouth and people from very far off locations visits the bank to receive food worth hundreds for their entire families.
The worker mentioned that the menu of the bank is not fixed, it varies. From biryani, qorma, vegetables, chicken, kheer and daal everything is cooked then packed in boxes with the naans.
Arif Lakhani—a trustee and of the Trust Saylani and one of the Roti Bank organizer expressed his delight about the work the Roti Bank is doing by allowing hundreds of Karachi people to get food for themselves and their families.
Lakhani said that they play the role of a bank as they store the food donated by the affluents of the society and then passes them on to those in need.
The bank was launched on the 14th of August this year and the bank anticipates opening six more banks at various locations in the city.
More than 100 to 150 families are registered and would be given cards in the coming days through which free food for the complete month could be taken. Lakhani also informed that per day 700 to 900 meals are given to the needy people.
He also added that through this step even the ones who do not want their identities revealed but need food are being helped.
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