The Kent Sikhs who went above and beyond 'during their month of sacrifice' when crisis hit the M20

Gravesend's Sikhs donated thousands over 3,000 hot meals to stranded lorry drivers caught up in the Port of Dover c...

It already seems bizarre to think that thousands of truckers really did spend Christmas stranded on Kent's roads.

France temporarily closed the border with the UK last Sunday (December 20), spooked by the new strain of coronavirus identified in the county.

Thousands of European truck drivers were left waiting at Manston, away from their families.

It was a humanitarian crisis on a scale the county had never seen before and one community in particular led the relief charge.

As soon as the news of the chaos at the Port of Dover reached them, Kent's Sikhs sprang into action...

...After their initial effort on December 22, the community was again called on to supply food on Christmas Eve.

Despite not celebrating Christmas themselves, the volunteers at the temple realised the significance of the Christmas meal and so went above and beyond to make it special for the drivers.

Jagdev said: "On Christmas Eve we were called again. As we knew the drivers would be stuck on Christmas Day we thought we’d do something a little bit extra.

"As well as the 1,000 hot meals we cooked, we also provided thousands of goodie bags with mince pies and snacks inside.

"Sikhs may not celebrate Christmas but it is a time when everybody is off work and that week of the month is quite symbolic for the faith as well.

“December is the month of Poh for Sikhs and we observe and remember sacifices. The week from December 21 to 27 is where we commemorate and observe the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh Ji's four sons in 1507.

"While this sewa - selfless service - over the Christmas period has caught national and international attention, for Sikhs, doing this type of sewa is just a normal thing to do."...

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...He explained: “Throughout the lockdown since March, the Gurdwara has been delivering food to vulnerable persons and NHS staff. Over 64,000 meals were provided in the first lockdown, 1,000 per day at the peak.

“When the local hospital ran out of scrubs for staff, the Gurdwara managed to source material and have 350 sets manufactured. We continue to provide food to families in need, We are finding that people are in a real need for the service.

“Working with other local organisations, the Gurdwara has also set up a helpline for anyone needing support with their health and wellbeing, and exercise classes for the elderly to keep them physically fit, initially at the Gurdwara and now online.

“As we see a need, we see what we can do to help fill the gap and go beyond.

"Considering what is happening in India at the moment, we are all in the frame of mind in helping wherever we can and however we can.”

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