This Sunday the Sikh Community, including the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance and Kaurageous Leicester, will partner up with charities in an incentive to help disadvantaged people across the city. As part of the Vaisakhi festivities, they aim to beat last year’s record of collecting over ten tonnes of food in a single day.
The Food Drive will take place between 10-5 on 13th April at Guru Tegh Bahadur, Gurdwara, and the Sikh community will offer food donations to local organisations such as FareShare Leicester, Leicester Charity Link, Kirpa Food bank and Midlands Langar Sewa Society, as well as other smaller charities.
Vaisakhi is the holiest day in the Sikh calendar and it marks the formation of the Sikh community in 1699, known as the Khalsa. As such, congregations of thousands are expected to gather from the city of Leicester and the wider Leicestershire area, to worship and celebrate whilst helping charitable causes.
The Food Drive was introduced last year and the response was both overwhelming and unprecedented. According to one charity, more food was donated on that one day than what would usually be given by a leading supermarket across a three month period.
Speaking to Pukaar News, Amandeep Rai of the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance described what inspired Sikhs to connect with local charities, commenting that: “Vaisakhi is a big celebration, and we felt like we were celebrating it very internally so last year we thought about how to make it more relevant to the people of Leicester. I believe that all individuals, not just Sikhs, have a responsibility to play our part and give something back to the local community.
“I think people from all faith groups need to address current problems in society. Some families are living on just one meal a day, so this is a good way of trying to help those in need.”
Mr Rai believes the event will make a positive impact, and expressed hope at being able to replicate last year’s impressive totals: “Last year we didn’t know what to expect – it was very hectic and we had to organise extra vehicles to deal with the huge amounts of food. This year we are much more prepared.”
Raj Mann, Chair of the Leicestershire Sikh Alliance said: “This really is a fantastic way of celebrating Vaisakhi. The fundamental tenets of the Sikh faith are serving others, and treating everybody equally- and what better way to put this into practice than by having a multi-faith food drive? We would urge people of all backgrounds and communities to join us in celebrating, and really helping those in the greatest need.”