The Sikh community in Dundee has been preparing and delivering hundreds of free meals to local residents who are struggling with the cost of living crisis. The initiative, which started in October, is a way of expressing the Sikh values of service, charity, and equality.
A gesture of kindness and solidarity
The project is led by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Dundee, the Sikh place of worship and community centre in the city. The volunteers cook and pack vegetarian meals every Sunday, and distribute them to various locations across Dundee, including homeless shelters, food banks, and community hubs. The meals are available to anyone who needs them, regardless of their faith, background, or circumstances.
The gurdwara’s president, Baljit Singh, said that the idea came from the desire to help those who are facing hardship due to the rising inflation, energy bills, and food prices. He said: “We are living in very difficult times and we wanted to do something to support our fellow citizens. We are all in this together and we have to look after each other.”
He added that the Sikh tradition of langar, or free communal kitchen, is a core part of their faith and culture. Langar is a practice that dates back to the 15th century, when the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, started serving free meals to anyone who visited his home. Today, langars are set up in gurdwaras and other places around the world, serving millions of people every day.
A positive impact on the community
The free meal service has been well received by the recipients, who have expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the gesture. One of them, John Smith, a 56-year-old unemployed man who lives in a hostel, said: “I am very thankful for the Sikh community for doing this. It’s a very kind and generous thing to do. The food is delicious and nutritious, and it makes a big difference to my day.”
Another recipient, Mary Jones, a 42-year-old single mother of three, said: “I am struggling to make ends meet and feed my children. The cost of everything has gone up and I don’t know how I can cope. The free meals from the Sikh community are a lifeline for me and my family. They are very friendly and helpful, and they always have a smile on their face.”
The project has also had a positive impact on the volunteers, who have found joy and satisfaction in serving others. One of them, Jaspreet Kaur, a 25-year-old student, said: “I love volunteering for this project. It gives me a sense of purpose and happiness. I feel like I am doing something good for the society and for myself. I have also made new friends and learned new skills.”
A plan to expand and sustain the project
The Guru Nanak Gurdwara Dundee hopes to continue and expand the project in the future, as the demand for the free meals is expected to increase. The gurdwara has received donations and support from various organisations and individuals, including the Dundee City Council, the Scottish Government, and local businesses. The gurdwara also welcomes anyone who wants to volunteer or contribute to the project.
Baljit Singh said that the project is not only about providing food, but also about creating a sense of community and solidarity. He said: “We want to show that we care and that we are here to help. We want to spread the message of love, peace, and harmony. We want to make Dundee a better place for everyone.”