A chance discussion with Jas just outside the Guru Arjen Dev Gurdwara on Stanhope Street introduced me to this recent initiative where they provide hot food for the Derby homeless. Motivated by the teachings of their Gurus, which promotes the principle of giving, and sharing, Jas, and a group of friends, and colleagues established this food bank, named after the first of the Gurus, and founder of Sikhism – Guru Nanak.
The generosity of the people in the Gurdwara, as well as general public donations provides them with enough resources to cook meals, and serve them, as well as handing out biscuits, sweets, bottled drinks, basic toiletries and clothes.
They operate twice a week on Saturday and Sunday.
The food is prepared from 3pm – 6pm, and then served in the Market Square by the Assembly Rooms from 6pm-7.30pm.
When I met them yesterday, they were late for the start of the cooking due to Vaisakhi so there was a lot of activity to get to the Market Square on time.
As a result of a great team effort they managed to recover their time. The regular homeless people were in the square waiting, and soon formed an orderly queue. All of them were very appreciative, and one of the men told me how important this service was, in addition to the Nightshelter provided by the local churches. He remarked that the group were “fantastic” for what they did at the weekend. For a number of the homeless, the need for a hot meal was well overdue as they crouched down a few yards from the Mission and enjoyed their spicy, hot pasta meal. Many of the others disappeared into the evening air as quickly as they had arrived.
The Mission is always in need of donations but principally they need Pasta, yellow lentils, red lentils, chick peas cans, tomato tins, onions, garlic, ginger, peppers, crisps, biscuits, sweets and bottled drinks.
Sadly, in these times, their service will be sorely needed for years to come, but I don’t doubt that their devotion to their faith will give them the strength to keep going for whoever decides that they need a hot meal – they do not discriminate, judge, or turn away.