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Indian family makes curry, roti and mango lassi for firefighters and emergency service personnel

An Indian family in Toowoomba have spent the last few nights preparing Indian meals with mango lassi for the heroic firefighters and emergency service personnel during the recent bushfires in Queensland.

It has been a busy few nights for an Indian family living in Toowoomba, Queensland, a region which has been battling bushfires.

Local service station owner Siddharth Bhardwaj and his daughters wanted to be of help and came up with the idea of preparing meals for firefighters, emergency workers, police, paramedics and volunteer wildlife carers.

“The idea of providing food to emergency services workers clicked immediately, we discussed it with our friends and one of them Anshuman provided his backyard for cooking the food.”  With the help of friends, Siddharth and his family started cooking at 10
Toowoomba girl Radhika Bhardwaj preps 800 lunch & mango lassi for exhausted firefighters
Supplied

"My elder daughter Radhika has been cooking for Hindu religious ‘Bhandara’ gatherings. It is part of our Indian culture that we like to share food and we feel blessed whenever we are able to do it with the community," Siddharth told SBS Hindi.

“The idea of providing food to emergency services workers clicked immediately, we discussed it with our friends and one of them, Anshuman provided his backyard for cooking the food.”

With the help of friends, Siddharth and his family started cooking at 10 pm at night to serve breakfast and lunch the next day.

Toowoomba girl Radhika Bhardwaj preps 800 lunch & mango lassi for exhausted firefighters
Toowoomba girl Radhika Bhardwaj preps 800 lunch & mango lassi for exhausted firefighters
Supplied

“We made 800 lunch packets, it felt good to see smiles on their faces,” he says.

But a change in the menu was suggested following a friendly banter with the firefighters from Melbourne, Siddharth shares. 

“We had a friendly Queensland vs Victoria banter with them and then they teased us by saying Indian Australians coming with lunch without curry and mango lassi seems incomplete,” Siddharth quips.

Family regrouped and decided to get curry and mango lassi for them.

Two and a half hours later Siddharth and his daughter were back to serve the Indian food with a mango lassi to go with it.

“When we started in the morning I felt good having prepared 800 lunch packs. But when we were driving to reach them and I saw the conditions in which they were working, I realised what we had done for them was no big deal. The emergency services were literally dodging death at the front lines,” says Sidharth. 

After offering an Indian meal and a mango lassi, Siddharth asked the emergency services co-ordinators, if they had any specific food needs for the next day.

Toowoomba girl Radhika Bhardwaj preps 800 lunch & mango lassi for exhausted firefighters
Toowoomba girl Radhika Bhardwaj preps 800 lunch & mango lassi for exhausted firefighters
Supplied

“They asked us if it was possible to get Vegan food as a group of wildlife savers were struggling. From the next day, we made sure that the group had Vegan food every day.”

It has been tough few days but immensely satisfying for the family.

“Now every evening we come together, cook at night and put it in a cool room. Next morning, we provide Indian food with mango lassi,” he says.

Sydney Sikh community treats exhausted firefighters to a home-cooked meal

Few thousands kilometre south of Toowoomba, a group of volunteers from the Hornsby Rural Fire Brigade were treated to a home-cooked meal by their local Sikh community last week as the battled to contain the bushfires in the region.

Members of the Guru Nanak Gurudwara Turramurra Sikh Temple dropped by to thank the firefighters with Indian curry, water, juice and soft drinks.

Members of the local Sikh community hand out home-cooked food to Hornsby's firefighters.
Members of the local Sikh community hand out home-cooked food to Hornsby's firefighters.
Josh Cahill

Captain Theo Klich said his crew were hugely grateful for the offering in the aftermath of a massive day of firefighting.

"We are grateful for these acts of kindness, however, we want to acknowledge that they are not expected, as we are happy to do the job that we are tasked to do without payment or reward." 

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