Sikh temple offers to cook up to 500 free meals daily for vulnerable families
Volunteers at Sikh Gurdwara in Dublin say they have capacity to cook hundreds of meals
Gurjit Singh, Ravinder Singh Oberoi, Head Priest, Jasbir Singh, Gurbir Singh Chadha, Arminder Singh and Simerjote Singh Chadha all Members of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh community in Dublin with some of their food ready for delivery around the city. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times
Volunteers from a Sikh temple in south Dublin have offered to cook and deliver hundreds of free meals to vulnerable families, gardaí and health workers for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic .
Members of the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) on Serpentine Avenue in Dublin 4 say they can produce up to 500 vegetarian meals a day if necessary for people in need around the city from the temple’s kitchen.
The decision to offer the free food stems from the Sikh tradition of ‘langar’ or sharing meals, says Ravinder Singh Oberoi, one of the volunteers at the temple.
“It comes with the tradition we follow that food is for the poor. It was started by our first Guru Nanak; it’s a free kitchen for anyone. Worldwide there are Sikh organisations providing free meals to the needy. It’s in our blood that we want to help. On this occasion with a lot of people suffering, we decided as Sikhs we can help in some shape or form.”
There are currently ten volunteers in the temple’s kitchen cooking vegetarian meals made up of rice, chickpeas and lentils. These meals are then boxed up and delivered to those in need, says Mr Singh Oberoi.
The first batch made last week was handed out to people outside O’Connell Street’s NGO while other meals were delivered to gardaí at Irishtown and Pearse street stations.
“We already deliver to O’Connell Street every Tuesday but have decided to do it each day depending on requirements. If there are people out there looking for help and food we will try and reach them.”
Those working in the kitchen can currently prepare between 250-300 meals a day but with a few volunteers could reach up to 500 meals a day, says Mr Singh Oberoi. The temple is observing strict social distancing rules in the kitchen and wants to limit the number of people cooking to maintain health and safety standards, he said, adding that meals are delivered by a separate set of volunteers.
Like all other places of worship, the temple is currently closed to the public and members of the Sikh community are gathering through skype and other online platforms to pray, says Mr Singh Oberoi. Close to 500 people would usually attend the Sunday service, he says.
The Gurdwara has posted about its food delivery service on its website and Facebook but is trying to spread the word to families outside the Sikh community. There is also concern about foreign students who may be alone and living off very little money, said Mr Singh Oberoi.
“This food is for health workers and gardaí but also families. Anyone who needs help, just let us know.”
For more information on the food service email firstname.lastname@example.org