Following the teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, a group of volunteers has been providing free food the to homeless in Sydney for seven years now.
While on vacation in Canada & UK six years ago, the founders of Sydney’s Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchenette, Lucky Singh and her husband Balbir Singh bumped into a group which was helping the local homeless there.
Inspired by their idea, and eager to put Guru Nanak's philosophy of ‘kirat karna, naam japna, vand chakna’ (work hard, meditate upon the lord's name and share your earnings) into practice, this couple decided to start a similar undertaking in Australia too.
After obtaining the requisite permissions and meeting all formalities, the pair Lucky and Balbir started their first free food drive in December 2012.
‘Since then, we have been providing free food, clothing and other daily needs to Sydney’s homeless at least once every month, if not twice. Our volunteers are from all nationalities, who come to Martin Place, which is heart of Sydney and which also has a large number of homeless people living in the rough. Our volunteers bring home-cooked food, fruits, tea, coffee and other goodies to distribute among these homeless community members,’ said Balbir Singh to SBS Punjabi.
‘The food that we provide is vegetarian and people love it. Keeping the oncoming winter in mind, this time we are distributing blankets, beanies, jackets, socks and shoes as well to these homeless people free of cost’.
The founder of GNFK Balbir Singh with his wife Lucky Singh told SBS Punjabi, ‘With the support of volunteers, we have managed over 70 events in last six years. GNFK has become a joiner for not only Indian but wider communities as well. People from Nepali, Chinese, Fijian, Australians backgrounds come along to volunteer in this noble cause’.
‘We have some sort of database of the homeless people and some organizations who help in spreading the word about our food distribution events. Besides this monthly free food drive in Sydney city, GNFK also organizes yearly events exclusively for senior citizens in order to provide them with some level of support, which could be in the form of massages, a party, dance etc’.
In future GNFK aims to provide quality education to poor and under privileged children, not only in India but in other parts of the world as well.
Balbir Singh of GNFK requests all community members irrespective of their backgrounds to come along and help the less fortunate community members.
Dr Anil Kumar Verma from Faridkot who is visiting his children here in Sydney came to know about GNFK’s initiatives and came along as a volunteer.
‘It is heartening to see that Guru Nanak’s philosophy of equality and ‘Kirat karna, Naam japna, Vand chakna’ is put in practice here in the western society’ said Dr Anil Kumar.
‘I came over to volunteer just once but liked the concept so much that this is my third time now’.
Being a visitor himself Mr Kumar expects the Punjabi and Indian community to come in large numbers to help out in such projects.
Similarly, another volunteer Mala Kapoor of Delhi who was visiting Sydney to take part in a School Principal’s Conference, came to know about Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchenette's initiatives through social media and came along to help them out by finding her own way through Sydney’s hustle and bustle.