Chicago Sikh Community serves Christmas lunch at Salvation Army
More than 30 members of the Sikh Religious Society, based in Palatine, helped feed the needy on Christmas Day at the Salvation Army in Chicago. The local Sikh community group has been doing this "Langar Seva" (food service) at the Salvation Army since 1992.
Hot meals (turkey, chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, stuffing, bread rolls, sweet potatoes and apple pie) for more than 600 people, donated by the Sikh community, were prepared at the Salvation Army kitchen. Sikh men, donning their turbans, women and youth served the meals to the guests.
Sikh Community youth volunteers handed out cookies, bagels and cakes to the families after the meal. Children were also given free toys donated by other charities. Volunteers from other faiths were also present to serve.
"It gives us a great pleasure to serve the traditional meal on Christmas Day to the underprivileged, needy families, or homeless people longing to celebrate the joy of Christmas with dignity like anyone else," said Sarwan Singh Raju, Sikh coordinator.
The tradition of Langar (free food) was started in the late 15th century by Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith. Sharing (Wand Chhaknaa) is one of the "Three Golden Rules" of Sikhism.
The Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, teaches that "Selfless service develops a sense of humility. Surrendering one's ego brings respect in the spiritual realm," and "Charity given out of earnings by honest means and hard work brings you rewards in the future, says Guru Nanak."
SurinderPal Singh Kalra, a senior member of the Sikh Religious Society, collected donations from the members amounting to $1,101, and presented them to Major Nancy Powers at the Salvation Army.
Major Powers thanked the Sikh Religious Society volunteers for their service and contributions, and expressed her desire to maintain a cordial relationship with the Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Palatine. She has visited the gurdwara several times and remembers the love and respect shown to her by the Sikh community.
Amardeep Singh Chawla and Gurpreet Singh donated two van loads of grocery items like bagels, bread, cookies, cakes, canned foods etc. for the pantry to be used as needed. Amardeep Singh Chawla and his family had donated the same amount of food on Thanksgiving Day as well.
Powers especially thanked the families for their continued generosity, and said that many needy families do come to receive food from the pantry at this location.
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