Recognizing the Human Race as One : UNITED SIKHS volunteers serve Langar (free community kitchen) at the Glide Foundation in San Francisco
Over 750 visitors at Glide Memorial Methodist Church, 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 partook of Langar (free community kitchen) on April 9, 2011 between 11:30am-1:30pm
The event was organized by UNITED SIKHS in coordination with Fremont Gurdwara, Gurbani Charitable Trust, and Bay Area Sikh Community
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: UNITED SIKHS volunteers had reached out in In November 2010 to Bruce Mckinney, the Manager at Glide Church to bring quality, nutritious meals to those served at Glide Church. The visitors loved the food and Bruce said: “This is a very good way of sharing the heritage of Sikh people and reaching out in a caring way to the community. We hope we can do this more often with the same kind of nutritious vegetarian meals.” UNITED SIKHS volunteers were hence back to celebrate 'Vaisakhi' (observed each year on April 13) by serving hot, nutritious meals to the needy at Glide Church.
Per Statistics from San Francisco food Bank, in the city of San Francisco, 197,000 people struggle each day to feed themselves and their families. In Marin, just over 40,000 people - or 16% of the population - face the threat of hunger on a given day. Hunger manifests itself as a consistent lack of enough food to meet nutritional requirements. It can mean fewer meals each day and poor-quality food that is calorie-rich but nutrient-poor. Reaching out in such times with "Langar", which our friends that partook the Langar acknowledged, was the most delicious food they had in a long time, is a small step but creates bonds of love with those we serve.
35 volunteers fed nearly 750 people with salad, samosas, rice, naans, kidney bean and vegetable curries, rice pudding, tea, hot chocolate, milk and fruit.
The Langar (meals) were prepared at the Fremont Gurdwara by volunteers in a holy ambiance. They traveled to San Francisco on Saturday morning where Bruce McKinney and his team directed the them about the process of managing queues and food tickets. Volunteers decorated the interiors of the two halls where guests were served and distributed Brochures about the Sikh identity to those interested.
The busload of Langar and Volunteers from Fremont arrives
The hall where visitors are served
Volunteers all smiles
Volunteers outside to manage food tickets and distributed Pamphlets about Who Sikhs Are
UNITED SIKHS volunteers organize such events as part of the 'FEED THE HUNGRY ' campaign initiated in 2009 in response to the growing problem of hunger. Read more about this campaign at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/feedthehungry/ . Local teams work with Gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship) to feed and clothe the needy in respective communities. Additionally, UNITED SIKHS volunteers reach out to provide Langar in disaster areas across the world. Our volunteers in Japan are currently providing relief material and serving hot meals in Sendai in consultation with the local prefecture authorities. Read about our work in Japan at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-21-03-2011-00.html .
Kashmir Singh, director of UNITED SIKHS in California, who worked tirelessly to manage the logistics and guide volunteers is thankful to the Bay area Sikhs who generously donated their time and money: “We also thank California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for declaring April 13 as “Sikh Solidarity Day” in response to the shooting of two Sikh men on March 4 in Elk Grove. We are here to show that the Sikhs also stand in solidarity with the community at large, to share our blessings with the needy, and to work towards eradicating hunger.”
Bruce McKinney, who's been managing Glide Memorial Methodist Church for more than 3 years taking care of around 3000 meals served per day, is now a friend to the volunteers. He explained to some of the regular visitors who Sikhs are and thanked the volunteers for lending a shoulder to the Glide team.
Dr Harbans Singh Saron mentioned the importance of the Sikh value of "commitment to service" that goes beyond serving food. He said: "As we ring in the new year with Vaisakhi, there could not be a better way than to join our brethren at the Glide Church with the message of hope and love".
About Vaisakhi: Vaisakhi is the harbinger of spring and harvest season for the Sikh community that claims its roots in India’s breadbasket: Panjab. This day has special historical significance for Sikhs because on this day in 1699 the tenth and the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib initiated the Sikh baptismal ceremony. This historical day marks the metamorphosis of Sikhism into the Khalsa Panth (Noble Nation) and re-definition of its role in the contemporary socio-religious and cultural society of India and the global community. The day also marks the Sikh New Year and no celebration is complete without Langar.
About Langar: Langar symbolizes the recognition of the human race as one, since anyone irrespective of caste, creed, race, or religion can partake in Langar. All the food is prepared by dedicated volunteers and there is no cost to those who partake. At Langar, only vegetarian food is served to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can share in this meal together as equals.
About Glide Foundation: The Glide foundation’s mission is to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. This is in line with Sikh concept of selfless service regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion or caste. Sikhs do so without any expectation of reward or return.
You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the UNITED SIKHS, which will provide immediate relief and support to those in need. You may donate online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate or send your donations to a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you, whose details can be found at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php .
Ordinarily only 10 percent of your donation is spent on admin costs.
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