Sikh kitchens turning into food banks in Britain


The homeless in Britain are turning to Sikh community kitchens at gurdwaras for hot meals as the demand for food banks rises, a media report said.

Temple-KitchenNearly, 5,000 meals are being served to non-Sikhs each week by Britain’s 250 gurdwaras and efforts are being made to take “langar” out of gurdwaras to fulfill its core objective of serving the whole community, according to Britain-based The Conversation website.

“British Sikhs have established food relief organisations in cities across Britain. The Midland Langar Seva Society in Birmingham, the Kirpa Food Bank in Wolverhampton, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen based in Doncaster and Edinburgh, the Bedford Langar project, the Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team (SWAT) based in London and Nishkam Help based in Birmingham and Leeds are some examples,” Jasjit Singh, postdoctoral research and impact fellow at University of Leeds was quoted as saying.

In these community kitchens, meals are offered for free and everything from the buying of the food to the preparation of the meals is based on donations. The trend is not just confined to Britain, according to Singh who is carrying out a research on the religious lives of young Sikhs in Britain.

“In Canada, the Seva Food Bank serves food to low-income families. In Los Angeles, the Khalsa Food Pantry and Khalsa Peace Corps provide meals to the destitute, while the Sikhcess project provides food and clothing to the homeless in a number of local communities across the US,” Singh said.

In addition to contributing to the communities they live in, Sikh charities such as United Sikhs also contribute to humanitarian efforts in different parts of the world as needed.

The idea of ‘langar’ as a community kitchen was developed by Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, in his settlement at Kartarpur, now in Pakistan.

It was developed as a practical manifestation of his teachings where devotees were encouraged to work hard and share the fruits of their labour.