The people of Australia have dealt with Mother Nature’s worst over the past two years. Devastating drought, terrible wildfires and now catastrophic floods throughout Queensland and New South Wales. The waters have reached nightmarish heights and residents can’t evacuate fast enough, leaving many trapped and stranded on rooftops.
If you don’t know about Lismore Maccas height. This is unfathomable, what on earth pic.twitter.com/q5wKUqNgcF
— Jackson (@Jaksuhhn) February 28, 2022
And yet, even in times of disaster, compassion perseveres.
A nonprofit group called Sikh Volunteers Australia provided free food and drinking water to families affected by the crisis, in an effort to show support and boost morale.The task would not be easy. Four team members would have to drive 34 hours—over blocked bridges and flooded highways—to make it to the community of Lismore.
Based on the community response since this morning, We have realised that the Service is much required in Lismore area. We are heading towards evacuation centres in Lismore and We request local communities to inform us about any local operating kitchen facility available for hire pic.twitter.com/AXMujGCe6z
— Sikh Volunteers Australia (@AustraliaSikh) March 1, 2022
But faith would get them to their destination and once there, a warm, soothing dish was made of rice and soya curry “spiced to perfection,” according to SVA co-founder Jaswinder Singh in an interview with SBS News.
The curry was chosen both for its uplifting taste and nutritional value. Singh told Australian Community Media (ACM) it provides “a perfect balance of nutrition of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients,” adding that, “we have been told that there is a food crisis from the last two days in those areas. So we want the people to eat healthy and get their energy back.”
A video posted to the Sikh Volunteers Australia Twitter account shows just how much food was prepared. Multiple industrial sized pots and giant mixers, along with pounds upon pounds of potatoes. We can also see how focused and dedicated the volunteers are to put love and care into the comfort food.
Food preparation in progress for flood affected areas pic.twitter.com/yu8Gwme4UV— Sikh Volunteers Australia (@AustraliaSikh) March 2, 2022
Australians have been touched by the incredible generosity and have reached out to share their gratitude across social media.
“Sikh Volunteer Australia are angels on Earth,” one person wrote.
Another noted how this is not the first time such kindness has been bestowed, commenting that “every time there is a disaster the Sikh community steps up. Every. Single. Time. Thank you so much for all you do.”
Providing food to groups in need is something the Sikh community often makes headlines for, but it’s an act that goes hand in hand with the religion’s principles. Langar is a long-practiced custom meant to create a communal kitchen for anyone in need, regardless of background, status or beliefs.
But there is one additional key ingredient that makes langar so special: As the food is prepared, divine words are chanted to ensure the food is blessed with good will.
After being on road for nearly 34 hours, Finally the SVA team has reached Lismore and is serving the affected communities. We have set up on 60 Ross Street Goonellabah. Anyone need support with food, may come to this location pic.twitter.com/MtcahkGD0O— Sikh Volunteers Australia (@AustraliaSikh) March 2, 2022
Singh tells Manning River Times that taking the food on the road is giving the tradition a modern twist.
"The only difference is instead of serving the langar at the gurdwara [place of worship], we are taking it onto the vehicles and taking it onto the doorstep of the people in need," he told MRT.
During times of crisis, human beings looking out for one another provides vital nourishment … in more ways than one. Thank you to the Sikh community for showing incredible empathy and authentic altruism.
To continue doing their fantastic work, Sikh Volunteers Australia is accepting donations through its website.
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