'Feed the Hungry' Campaign Brings Winter Solace to Homeless in Toronto

United Sikhs will work with local Gurdwaras to feed and clothe the needy from all communities around the world....

Toronto, Ontario, Canada: On the crisp cold morning of 20th February, the Parkdale Recreation Centre of downtown Toronto was filled with volunteers wearing a dastaar (a Sikh turban), who were serving hot-meals and distributing warm clothes. Over twenty-five UNITED SIKHS volunteers were at the recreation centre to feed several hundred homeless people at the start of a 'Feed the Hungry' campaign, in response to the ongoing economic crisis which has left many people without jobs and homes globally.

  UNITED SIKHS Volunteers distributing hot-meals and beverages to the homeless at the Parkdale recreation center
The food drive that started at 11am with tea, snacks, cheek peas, salad, rice pudding and beverages, lasted until 2 pm. Clothing was also distributed to the needy. Recreation centre director, Charmaine Faredo, said, "Today's food drive has helped feed a lot of people. We need to see more of such activities. This recreation centre opened in 1993 for homeless and even though several groups have supported in the past there is ever more need now to sustain the program. I thank UNITED SIKHS for their humanitarian support."

Charankamal Singh, Sikh Aid Director of UNITED SIKHS-Canada, said, "The economic crisis has hit every community and many more families are now in need. The 'Feed the Hungry' campaign is a response to this need."

"Under the 'Feed the Hungry' campaign, UNITED SIKHS will work with Gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship), to feed and clothe the needy from all communities around the world," added Charankamal Singh. Sikh Gurdwaras practise a 500-year-old tradition of serving free food from the community kitchen, called the langar .

To date, the following 10 Gurdwaras in Ontario have committed to participate in UNITED SIKHS' monthly Feed the Hungry campaign : Glidden Road Gurdwara (March 2009); Reagan Road Gurdwara (April 2009), Dixie Road Gurdwara (May 2009), Scarborough Gurdwara (June 2009), Malton Gurdwara (July 2009), Oakville Gurdwara (Aug 2009), Tivalda Road Gurdwara (Sept 2009), Jot Parkash Gurdwara (Oct 2009), Mayfield Gurdwara (Nov 2009) and Rexdale Gurdwara (December 2009).

Over the last four years, UNITED SIKHS has mobilized 12 disaster relief missions spanning 8 countries in Asia and North America, including the Asian Tsunami, Asian Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and the Myanmar Cyclone. The 'Feed the Hungry' campaign is an extension of UNITED SIKHS' humanitarian relief work in response to the dire need for food caused by man-made crises.

The Toronto 'Feed the Hungry' event was sponsored by a UNITED SIKHS Director, Baljit Singh, to mark the celebration of his daughter's birthday. "Today is my daughter's birthday and I thought what better way to celebrate than to help and feed the hungry. This special day brings immense pleasure to me," said Baljit Singh from Brampton.

"We are committed to feeding the hungry. Our Sikh Aid teams would organize such drives each month to reach out to the needy. UNITED SIKHS' recognizes the human race as one family and it's in this spirit that we have started this 'Feed the Hungry' project," said Amneet Singh, a UNITED SIKHS volunteer.

"Today's effort was to further a 500 year old mission by Guru Nanak Sahib , the first Sikh Guru, to feed the hungry, " said Ranbir Singh, UNITED SIKHS' Community Affairs director.

To volunteer or to organize a 'Feed the Hungry' campaign in your city or town, please fill a form here. You may download a poster for the 'Feed the Hungry' Campaign here.

To Donate please go to www.unitedsikhs.org/donate or post your cheque to a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you. For details of our offices see http://www.unitedsikhs.org/contact.php.

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