|External shot of the Gurdwara.|
I had one of those very reminders recently. Over the past few months, my attention has been drawn to The Bedford Langar Project, and it piqued my interest. Aware that it was a volunteer based project providing food for the homeless, but not knowing much more, I contacted them, and asked if I could meet them, see what they do and find out why.
|Other events organised by the Gurdwara.|
The Bedford Langar Project is a Sikh-run project, originally developed by 9 core members 2 years ago to assist the plight of those who struggle, and they have volunteers of all races and religions, and open their doors to everyone. The first Sunday of every month sees the volunteers meet together at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, roll their sleeves up, and put together delicious dishes to be transported to the town centre and dished out.
|Inside the Gurdwara.|
The kitchen was emitting gorgeous smells so we naturally gravitated there quite quickly! Inside we found possibly the most pleasant group of people I have ever met. We were welcomed and greeted so warmly, everyone was willing to talk to us about what they were making, how long they had been participating in the project and why. Ravi introduced us to the volunteers, and explained more about the project itself and how it came about.
|Flurry of activity in the Gurdwara's kitchen.|
|The kitchen in action.|
Sikh's practice the act of Seva, or selfless service to humanity. Seva intends that you help others where they require it, and the Langar Project does exactly this. Langar refers to the food and kitchen itself, which is served daily within the Gurdwara. All the food is vegetarian, and none of the ingredients used by the project are permitted to be blessed, however the food served daily in the Gurdwara is. All people, regardless of race, religion or gender are welcome (demonstrated by the 4 doors placed around the Gurdwara), and it is designed to uphold the principle of equality. Sikh's are not permitted to preach to others about their faith, but will answer any questions asked by others.
|Some of the food prep.|
|The delicious food served by the project.|
On arrival at the Square, clients were already gathering, waiting for service to start. As well as hot food, a selection of boxed desserts, chocolates, tea and coffee, and bottles of water were all handed out, most of which had been donated to the project. At Christmas, scarves and gloves were donated, the concern being that the group wouldn't see their regular attendees until January and were worried that they would suffer in the winter weather. Other occasions have seen boxes of biscuits, homemade baked goods and other donated food handed out.
|Clients queue for the food prepared by the volunteers.|
|The volunteers ready for action.|