Heartfelt Seva: An Annual Homelessness Program in Canada

Heartfelt Seva

A foundational characteristic of a Sikh way of life: To serve humanity with heartfelt love and compassion, reach out to ...

Heartfelt Seva: An Annual Homelessness Program in Ontario, Canada

"To serve humanity with heartfelt love and compassion, reach out to the vulnerable in a nurturing embrace, and to take active steps to alleviate the suffering of those in need while making them feel acknowledged and loved, is a foundational characteristic of a Sikh way of life.  While serving under the umbrella of compassion and humility, one recognizes that each human heart beats with vaheguru ji’s love.  Through sharing this love, we serve humanity."

-Sukhdeep Kaur


Since 2001, an annual Homelessness Program has been conducted by individuals in the greater Toronto area, Canada that involves children, youth, and adults from all professions in heartfelt seva.  Based on the principles of sharing, inclusiveness, and community, the program entails the preparation and distribution of care packages with food, clothing, blankets and handwritten cards, wrapped with a ribbon of love and shared with the warmth of a smile, for homeless individuals living on the streets of Toronto and in shelters across Ontario.  

As volunteers engage in direct communication with people living on the streets and in shelters, they heighten their awareness of the causes of homelessness, daily struggles to survive, and the emotional implications on their lives. This project has helped to raise awareness of homelessness in Canada, been profiled in numerous local and national newspapers, and featured on several televised news and radio reports. The educational documentary video (produced in 2008) outlines in detail how the program is run through the collective efforts and donations of people’s time, earnings, and services and how gifts are distributed.  

In the Sikh spirit of seva, may this program contribute to the dialogue of how we each share responsibility in helping those less fortunate and encourage more youth to become advocates for social change, inspire them to become active global citizens, and conduct similar initiatives in their local community. 

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