Ekta NZ, in association with Coexistence and Amma New Zealand, launched the Wellington chapter of the Guru Nanak Free Kitchen on Saturday, May 18 commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev. The Guru Nanak Free Kitchen in Auckland inspired the service to be started in Wellington.

The service will provide pre-packed meals to people in need every Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday in front of Reading Cinema in Courtney Place the entertainment hub of Central Wellington.

Ekta has roped in parties from other faiths to be associated in this project as Guru Nanak is highly regarded in all religions.

“It was a deliberate decision by Ekta as Baba Nanak was regarded as Guru both by Muslims and Hindus and in fact, his teachings have made him a Guru for all humanity as they have been incorporated in the United Nations Faith for Rights Commitments,” coordinator of the project Jasvinder Kaur told The Indian Weekender.

Ekta is hoping to encourage others and open the floor to collaborate with them in this noble cause. The free kitchen will run for 30 weeks until the next birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

“Collaboration allows groups which may not be able to sustain this kind of activity for a long time, to cooperate and take it over a longer period, with each doing a few weeks,” Ms Kaur added.

Dalbir Singh, the Granthi Sahib of Naenae Gurudwara, launched the programme with an Ardas along with people from other faiths present there.

Dalbir Singh hoped that the initiative encouraged more people to come forward to carry-on with the essential mission of Guru Nanak of feeding the poor as the Sikh community celebrates the 550th birth anniversary of its founder.

Selva Ramasami from the Hindu Council blessed the event with a prayer for more ‘Barkat’ (prosperity and growth), ‘Ekta’ (unity) and ‘Shanti’ (peace).

The Malaysian High Commissioner in Wellington lauded the efforts of Ekat and said launching this noble cause in the month of Ramadan in itself is very significant.

Her Excellency Ms Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo, who was present at launch with her husband, encouraged and called other communities, especially the Muslim community to undertake such projects and spread the goodness to the wider community.

“It was very encouraging when a few young Indians who of their own volition volunteered to help out every week and to bring more items to add to the food that was being distributed,” Jasvinder Kaur added.