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Sikh volunteer wins Australia’s Local Hero Award for serving free food

Sukhwinder Kaur received the Local Hero Award and a cheque of 10,000$ at a function held at Melbourne on 17 August. Source: SBS

Sukhwinder Kaur from the Sikh Volunteers Australia is proud and happy to be announced as a Westfield Local Hero in Melbourne’s southeast.

Sukhwinder Kaur spends between 16 to 20 hours a week cooking meals for the hungry and the homeless.

This has been her tireless routine for more than seven years as a member of Sikh Volunteers Australia, a charity organisation active in Melbourne’s southeast.

She will be presented the Westfield Local Hero award this Friday for her service to the community.

Sukhwinder told SBS Punjabi that she helps in cooking vegetarian meals that are distributed by the charity’s food van feeding up to 200 needy people a week.

“I am glad that our organisation’s work has been acknowledged. It’s been a very proud and happy moment for everyone involved in this volunteer work," she said. 

“I am very thankful to our local community who voted to help me get this award.” 

Sukhwinder Kaur
Sukhwinder Kaur (L) along with other winners of the Westfield Local Heroes Award

The Sikh Volunteers say they will use $10,000 award money to fund their charity work in accordance with their Sikh faith in Melbourne’s southeast. 

The ever-smiling Sukhwinder is an effective recruiter and role-model for the charity and has inspired more than 30 other Sikh women to become volunteers.

She told SBS that the inspiration to do "better and better" comes from Sikh principles and other members of the group.

"People in need often share their life stories with the Sikh volunteers. I remember one severely physically disabled man who came to collect containers of food to take home,” she says.

“One day he broke down and shared that he can't do much for his family but take food for them. These types of stories give us strength and motivation to do more.”

Sukhwinder also spends her time teaching children the Punjabi language, heritage, and music.

“We are in process of establishing a community kitchen and a school in Cranbourne. We also aim to encourage students to be community-minded and to speak up against bullying,” she said. 

Sikh Volunteers Australia
Members of Sikh Volunteers Australia at the National Tree Day event in Melbourne's southeast.

Westfield Local Heroes were nominated and voted for by their communities and a grant of $10,000 is awarded to support their affiliated organisation’s work, programs or activities, reads a statement released by The Westfield.

“We congratulate every one of our nominees and finalists, and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community.”

 A $10,000 grant is awarded to the affiliated organisation of each of the three Westfield Local Heroes nominated and voted for by the Fountain Gate community.

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