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This Press Release may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-27-04-2009-00.htm
Press Release: 27th Apr 2009, Monday 14th Visakh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi )
|Feeding the Hungry on the Streets of London….|
London, UK : Feed the Hungry volunteers celebrated the Sikh festival of vasakhi by serving Langgar (food cooked in a Sikh community kitchen) to some 200 Londoners at homeless shelters and on the streets of central London on Saturday 11th April 2009. The hot food, comprising red bean curry and rice, salad and rice pudding, which was prepared and packed by the volunteers at the Central Gurdwara ( Sikh place of worship) in Holland Park, went down well on a nippy London evening, which inspired an atmosphere of humility and community spirit.
Thirty two UNITED SIKHS volunteers were joined by volunteers from Langgar London, Rajinder Singh and Vineet Kaur, who had been serving London’s homeless for the past year. Each volunteer had something different to bring to the day. Indeed for Dr Lakhbir Singh, who accompanied his wife, Harbans Kaur, to the Central Gurdwara to prepare the Langgar, it was the first time he had metha-taek (bow in prayer) in the prayer hall without the use of his wheelchair, since a car accident in 2007. “We were very touched that we were able to join the volunteers who served langgar at the shelters and the streets in Central London. My husband never thought he would ever walk again near his former workplace in Central London, where he once worked as an ophthalmologist,” said Harbans Kaur.
The ‘food run’ was indeed a race with time as the volunteers split up into groups to make it on time for dinner at three shelters in the east-end before meeting up to feed the homeless on the streets and under the bridges in the west-end in London’s Strand, Charing Cross and Waterloo areas by 7pm.
Volunteers preparing Langgar
The volunteers were touched by the warm welcome from the residents at the Dellow Centre in Tower Hamlets, the Hopetown Centre and the Booth House in Whitechapel and the Heather Lodge in Bow, who were curious about the identity of the volunteers who wore turbans and their articles of faith.
Although visiting homeless shelters is a sobering experience in itself, it is impossible not to feel moved by the gratitude of many of the people we served. One gentleman remarked on behalf of his fellow rough sleepers, “Thank you very much, we all really appreciate it what you are doing…ohh lovely rice pudding (kheer) can I have some more please?”
The volunteers congregated near Waterloo Bridge in high spirits despite the rain to look for more homeless near the South Bank Centre and by 10.00pm were happy that collectively they had fed the hungry and their own souls. Below is the video clip of the evening of street feeding.
Volunteers preparing Langgar
Volunteer Gursharon Kaur said afterwards, “The Feed the Hungry seva on Saturday was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have for some time been thinking of setting up a project which feeds the hungry and Saturday really made my dream come true. I would like to help out with these projects on a regular basis.”
“This Feed the Hungry event not only reassured us that someone had not gone hungry for the evening, but we felt we were recognizing the human race as one,” said Ram Simar Kaur, a UNITED SIKHS volunteer, who will now join every monthly Feed The Hungry event in London. The next one is on 23rd May2009, to celebrate the 530th birth anniversary of Guru Amardas, the third Sikh Guru, the details for which are here.
“UNITED SIKHS will serve langgar at the Hopetown Centre to commemorate a Sikh festival or historic event every month. We will also feed the homeless on the streets on separate occasions,” said Gurpreet Kaur, UNITED SIKHS’ Feed the Hungry coordinator, who said that the manager of the Hopetown Centre has requested that that the volunteers make a presentation on ‘Who Are the Sikhs’, on 23rd May 2009.
You may read about a previous Feed the Hungry event at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-22-02-2009-00.htm
To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
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Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.