By Grahame Anderson
Darlington’s Sikh community has turned the closure of its Gurdwara into a positive drive to help get food to people in need.
As a result both the general local community and a zero-waste non profit group have benefited greatly from their act of kindness as the North East continues to battle against coronavirus.
At regular intervals throughout the week, Sikhs in the town host a Langar at their temple – it’s a term used to describe a community kitchen. Every visitor receives a free meal regardless of religeous or ethnic background, economic status or gender.
Sadly because of the pandemic the practice had to stop temporarily as the temple had to close its doors to meet with current government restrictions.
This also meant large supplies of food might have been wasted, until Sikh leaders decided to donate vital foodstuffs to help create healthy meals for the vulnerable.
Negative To Positive
They chose to link up with Food For Thought, a scheme run by volunteers working to save good food targeted for the skip, in order to provide hot meals for people in difficult personal situations.
Food For Thought has been carrying out their priceless work right across lockdown and beyond ensuring the dietary needs of Darlington’s needy are met. In normal times the organisation receives food donated by both supermarkets and individuals. They also hold special cookery sessions teaching others how to create nutritious meals on a budget.
What’s more, the charity has even utilised its own events budget to buy food vouchers for its regular clients. This has also meant delivering priceless food packages to more than 300 households in the County Durham town, at a cost of £4,500.
Food For Thought leader Louise Graham told me: “It’s been a difficult time for everyone with lots of people getting in touch for our help every week desperate for support. So any donations really are invaluable.
“We really appreciate the very generous donation from the Sikh community, and are so grateful to them. Acts of kindness such as these really are the backbone of our community, and it’s a perfect example of how everyone can work together for the common good.
“We received a huge selection of dried food, lentils, rice, beans, chickpeas, tea and coffee – all of which we can utilise in meals we make for the community.
“We’ll keep working hard for as long as it takes, but it makes you feel proud of being part of such a caring community here in Darlington.”