A new community initiative to feed the homeless this winter across different cities and towns is being applauded by the community, and more volunteers are joining in for the noble cause.
What started as a two-person led initiative under an independent, not-for-profit community organisation is getting more and more hands every day contributing towards the society.
Sikh Sangat New Zealand started distributing free food parcels to the homeless/needy on the streets of Auckland, and it has eventually become an activity for every weekend. The organisation now has at least 8-10 volunteers in different cities such as Hamilton, Te Puke, Rotorua, Christchurch, Auckland and now in Tauranga as well.
“One fine afternoon, we packed 50 boxes of food, water and juices bottles and started driving in our car from South Auckland looking for people in need of food. Surprisingly, the boxes got over sooner than we expected and we were able to provide food to 50 homeless/needy people,” Delpreet Singh from Sikh Sangat NZ told The Indian Weekender.
“We saw people sitting outside McDonald's, Burger King, some retail outlets, near parks, street corners etc. and eagerly approached them if they were hungry and served them with food boxes if they said yes,” Mr Singh added.
Mr Singh says the most difficult part of this service is approaching needy/homeless on street corners and asking them if they need food, which is often said yes, sometimes with slight reluctance and hesitance.
“Not every person takes the food boxes, but there is a relatively growing number of needy people on streets, especially in West, South Auckland and Auckland CBD who rely on food given by others,” Mr Singh said.
Looking at the needs of the people, Sikh Sangat started this service in different towns and cities such as Te Puke, Hamilton, Christchurch, Rotorua and the latest addition, Tauranga.
The volunteers make food themselves, pack them in boxes, carry water, juice boxes, tea and coffee in this chilling winter evenings and serving to the people on the streets.
“This service is available to everyone, irrespective of their religion, caste or ethnicity.
“Sometimes, it is not just homeless people, even people just passing by on the road stop by for a quick bite, or take a cup of tea/coffee, hug the volunteers and move on to their destination,” Mr Singh said.
Charity is one of the most important aspects of Sikh religious centres. Gurdwaras across the globe provide ‘langar’ service to the public, some of them serving four-time free meals to the public 365 days of the year.