Yorkshire Live – Huddersfield’s food bank receives huge donation from Sikh community

The Welcome Centre has been handed a large cheque by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara

Hudderfield – West Yorkshire – UK, 15 September 2020. A Huddersfield Gurdwara has made several generous donations to The Welcome Centre foodbank to support people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Guru Nanak Gurdwara based in Springwood, regularly serves vegetarian meals for their congregation, however due to the closure of the Gurdwara during lockdown, the committee members and congregation wanted to find a way to support those struggling in the community.

Altogether, the congregation has donated £6,000 to help people in Huddersfield who are finding it tough to make ends meet. “We wanted to provide food for those in need and originally wanted to cook meals,” said Balbir Singh Uppal.

“However, due to the guidance in place from government and Sikh institutions this wasn’t possible, so we decided to donate funds to a local charity that was already doing great work in our community and could partner with us.”

A number of local charities were considered including Food for Heroes, which was set up to support NHS staff during lockdown, however, members from the Gurdwara felt The Welcome Centre, who they had supported previously, would be able to provide the much-needed meals directly to those in need.

The Welcome Centre food bank, which has been open for more than 20 years, was one of the few frontline services to remain open throughout the pandemic in Huddersfield.

They continued to provide thousands of people in financial crisis with essential food and toiletries by creating a delivery service in partnership with Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing.

The Guru Nanak Gurdwara committee asked their congregation for financial donations, initially planning to offer £500 per week for five weeks to support the work of The Welcome Centre.

Harjinder Singh Johal, General Secretary of the Gurdwara, said: “When we initially asked for support from our congregation, we were hoping to donate about £2,500, however, donations kept coming in.

“We were overwhelmed with how much money was donated and this has meant we’ve so far donated £5,000 with a further £1,000 cheque donated today.”


The Indian Express – Serving over 10k meals a day, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib’s kitchen runs short of wheat

It is for the first time in four decades that the gurdwara management has sought help from the government to meet the need for supplies to its kitchen.

Divya Goyal

Ludhiana – Panjab – India, 29 March 2020. Not once in its 90-year existence did Ludhiana’s Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib run out of wheat flour for its langar kitchen.

But as it serves over 10,000 meals daily amid the lockdown, the gurdwara is running short of wheat supplies to keep serving parshadas (rotis) to those who turn up for langar and those who look forward to packed meals from its langar kitchen in these unprecedented times due to corona-virus.

It is also for the first time in four decades that the gurdwara management has sought help from the government to meet the need for supplies to its kitchen.

But while people, migrants, daily-wagers and the homeless, continue to show up, Punjab government’s Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs is yet to respond to gurdwara management’s request for wheat bags.

In the meantime, the management has arranged a few tonnes of wheat, but it fears that the stock won’t last long given the surge in demand for langar during lockdown.

Apart from serving langar at the gurdwara, food packets are being supplied by the shrine 24×7.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Prithpal Singh (65), president, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, said: “Langar is the most valuable element of our Punjabi culture and Sikhism.

People and faiths across the globe admire us for langar because in Punjab no one sleeps empty-stomach. Our langar kitchen has been serving 10,000 meals a day at least since always, and now after the curfew, even as the people coming to langar hall has decreased, the demand for packed meals is increasing.”

He added: “We are supplying at least 6,000 meals of packed food a day (twice a day) and then another 5,000 meals (twice a day) are being served to homeless and poor people, mostly migrants, who are still coming to have food.

It was for the first time that we ran short of wheat and we approached the food supplies minister. But they have failed to deliver wheat bags. It was disappointing as well as heartbreaking.”

Gurdwara president said that they are ready to supply double the capacity of food packets, but for that they need wheat. “I personally called Food Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and asked for help apprising him of entire situation. We have always paid and bought grocery for langar.

Even now we were ready to pay to government also but the department did not deliver us wheat bags. At last, we have arranged some stock on our own through arthiyas (commission agents) but we do not know how long it will last,” he said.

Temporarily, the gurdwara has now arranged 23 tonnes of wheat from arthiyas paying Rs 21,085 per tonne but seeing that demand for meals has been increasing with 2-2.5 tonnes being consumed each day, it might last for next 7-10 days or less.

“It all depends on how many food packets are delivered apart from sangat still visiting langar hall. At least 5,000 (twice a day) are still coming to gurdwara to have food, mostly daily wagers and migrants. We cannot deny food to anyone. We are also supplying food to temples and mosques.

Assi ajj tak kisi aggey hath ni failaaya, sarkar agge vi ni (We have never begged for anything from government or otherwise) but if langar kitchen is expected to deliver cooked food, we need raw material for that. We are even ready to pay for it but the department failed to arrange wheat for us on priority.

We did it on our own,” said Prithpal Singh. He added that there was enough stock for dal (pulses) and vegetables are being brought on daily basis but all they need is wheat flour.

“This situation would have been avoided had our wheat crop on 40 acres of land owned by gurdwara had not been damaged due to untimely rains or if some time was given to prepare for curfew instead of sudden announcement,” he said.

The kitchen at gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, among the largest in Punjab, serves meals (dal, roti and vegetables) to at least 10,000 persons apart from tea-snacks langar (once a day). The kitchen has capacity to produce 4,500 rotis in an hour. “We can arrange another roti making machine and double up the capacity.

But we need at least 30 tonnes of wheat more for lockdown till 14 April. People are coming to ask for food packets. Today also food was supplied in Haibowal and Dugri areas,” said Pithpal Singh, who has been a sewadar at the gurdwara for over 34 years.

When contacted, Arvinder Sandhu, Inspector, Food & Civil Supplies Department, said: “There were some issues such as transportation and scarcity of wheat and we have informed higher officials about wheat shortage being faced by gurdwara. District Food Supplies Controller will be the right person to comment on it.”

Sukhwinder Singh Gill, District Food Supplies Controller, said that wheat stock lying with them belongs to central government and for that they have to get permission from Food Corporation of India (FCI) to supply it to the gurdwara.

“We cannot issue wheat bags to anyone without FCI’s permission. We will try solving issue on Monday and gurdwara can buy wheat from us for Rs 20,080 per tonne,” he said.


The Hindustan Times – Sikh non-profit supplies necessities to public amid panic buying

The organisation, United Sikhs, has appealed to the public to avoid, “panic buying” of supplies.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 23 March 2020. A Sikh non-profit has launched an emergency food bank in Canada to assist with the overwhelming demand for food, supplies and hygiene products to help those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported.

The organisation, United Sikhs, has appealed to the public to avoid, “panic buying” of supplies, the Global Newswire said in a report.

“When the general public is asked to stock their shelves for an undetermined amount of time, they overlook a great number of families who cannot afford to do so,” said Operations Manager, Canadian Chapter, Harpreet Singh.

“For those families, United Sikhs is dedicated to making sure they receive the supplies they need.”

The food bank free supplies include canned goods, hot meals, dry goods and medicines.

In a statement, the organisation’s CEO Jagdeep Singh, saidd: “Our seniors, children and vulnerable groups with pre-existing medical conditions are suffering the most due to this pandemic.

“Those who are financially able should consider donating to United Sikhs today so this free Emergency Food Bank of life essentials can be expanded to everyone who needs it.”

Canada has so far reported 1,469 confirmed coronavirus cases with 21 fatalities.


Sikh24.com – Punjab Flood Alert: SGPC announces to provide free food and accommodation to the sufferers

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 August 2019. Recognizing the duty towards service of humanity, the apex Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has announced to food and accommodation to the villagers who have been evacuated from their villages in the wake of possible release of water from the Bhakra Dam reservoir.

It is learnt that the SGPC has gone active to help the victim villagers.

Speaking with media, the SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh informed that the managers of state-wide Gurdwara Sahibans have been directed to make sufficient arrangements for accommodating the victim villagers and offer them food till the situation doesn’t get averted.

He has appealed the Punjab masses to contact the Gurdwara Sahiban authorities if they feel any need.

It is noteworthy here that the Bhakra Beas Management Board is likely to release water in more than usual quantity due heavy rainfall in the region. The Bhakra Dam reservoir is learnt to be only five feet below its upper mark.

Punjab Flood Alert: SGPC announces to provide free food and accommodation to the sufferers