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City Sight staff and students take part in Nishkam SWAT initiative to help the homeless

Nishkam SWAT is the first UK Sikh charity to take ‘Langar’, the free community kitchen in a Sikh place of worship (Gudwara), to the streets.

by Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer)

A  team of our City Sight optometry staff and students recently took part in a free community kitchen for the homeless, run by the Nishkam SWAT (Sikh Welfare Awareness Team) charity.

Thanking students and staff for their support and assistance in helping serve the community, Jugjeet Singh Bansal, City Sight Manager (maternity cover), and Nishkam SWAT volunteer, said:

"The concept of service is one of the main tenets of the Sikh faith, we call it Seva.

Seva can be done in multiple ways at home, work, society, etc. Langar is the free community kitchen in a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), where food is provided to anyone regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender, or social status.

"The purpose of Langar is to give to the needy, but also to instill equality and humility to everyone, so rich and poor, male and female, doctor or street cleaner, all sit together as ‘One’. So, through helping in Langar, one can do Seva.

"Nishkam SWAT is a charity who provide food, clothing, bedding, medical care and assistance to thousands of homeless people and those in need across many locations, even internationally.

"On a personal note, when I am given the opportunity to serve, I have different emotions. It makes me feel happy – to share, and make someone else happy. Gratitude – thankful for being given the chance to serve our big universal family. Humble – people’s situation can change very quickly, a missed payment, a break up, etc, can lead to anyone being in need or left on the street."

Anisha Desai, optometrist at City Sight shared:

"The set up was like clockwork and we slotted into our roles serving the hot pasta and salad like a glove.

"The organisation provided not only hot food and drink but also clothes and a bag with non-perishable food, to a long line that had already assembled before they had arrived.

"What was surprising, along with the fact that there was such a long queue, was the perception of who I or anyone else would deem to be “homeless” or in need of food .

There were people there who could be passing you in the street, dressed just like you or me ... however they can’t afford to feed themselves, old and young .

"What I took away from this is that anyone could be in a position in their life needing help from a homeless feed or a food bank. So by supporting your local food bank or even volunteering to help could go a long way for someone in desperate need.“

Alyanna Tuazon & Jade Kaur Sanghera who volunteered with the City Sight party said:

“We feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to give back to the community. One thing we learnt from the experience is that you should never judge a book by its cover as you never know who may need help. We look forward to taking part in it again!”

To find out more about Nishkam SWAT, visit the website.

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