by Father Blany Pinto for BISMumbai

Don Bosco Lonavla social outreach staff Sonali Shelke and Ravi Shelke, visited areas close to the foot of the hills to survey if families are being provided with food. Almost all men and women at the foothills, depend on hotels and restaurants for their livelihood. Lonavla, a general hotbed of tourist activity, has been greatly impacted with the ensuing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, leaving these families dependent on tourism, with no source of income.

Food packets, consisting of groceries and vegetables were supplied on 11, 12, and 13 May

to families in villages, 20 kms interior from the main highway, at the foot of the hills. Food packets were distributed to all the villages along the way. 15 families in Kurwande Katkarwadi village, 33 families in Hilltop Khandala Thakurwadi, 07 families in Fanasrai Thakurwadi, 18 families in Vanhati Thakurwadi, 12 families in Udhaywadi and 25 families in Rajmachi village. Food packets were also distributed to 14 families hailing from Bihar, in the Sadapur Road

area. A total of 124 families were reached on 11 and 12 May. On 13 May, Don Bosco Lonavla social outreach staff, with Unita Doulton and her team, visited and continued with the weekly food distribution in the 06 villages: 75 families in Devghar village, 31 families in Karan Doli Village, and 88 families in Vaksai village.

Friday 15 May was a day of further survey, to newer places, to find out if there are yet any families who are food-deprived. To their dismay, the social outreach staff discovered many more 'adivasi' families yet to be reached. In the coming week 16-24 May, Don Bosco Lonavla hopes to expand its outreach to ensure that even the yet-unreached 'adivasi families are included in the distribution list.

Thanks to a highly commendable service of surveying villages and checking for food-deprived families in dire need, the COVID-19 Releif Outreach by Don Bosco Lonavla is exapnding. Once identified, coupons are distributed beforehand, so that all enlisted receive food packets without fail.