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Langar tackles hunger in Leeds

As homeless figures continue to rise in the UK, and the need for foodbanks grows every year, one West Yorkshire community ventured out last weekend to offer up free food and drink to our county’s most vulnerable people.

Sikhs from gurdwaras in Leeds and Bradford gathered at Dortmund Square, on The Headrow, on Sunday to dish out samosas, lentil curry and rice to over 200 people from 5pm to7pm.

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Following on from a successful initiative on National Langar Awareness Day in October, the ‘world’s oldest soup kitchen’ once again took to the streets for the benefit of the wider society.

Rapaljeet Kaur was one of those who helped organise the distribution day.

She said: “As Sikhs, a big part of our faith is charity and sharing what we have with others, whether that is food, compassion or love,” she said.

“To see up to 200 people come down on the day just shows how many people are in need of a service like this.

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“Before we went down, we had distributed leaflets at centres and St George’s Crypt to make people aware of the event but we were still surprised by the number of people who came down.”

As well as serving up hot meals from their tent, volunteers also took meals to people across the city who were unable to travel to the site.

All food and drink on the day was donated by local gurdwaras and distributed by Sikh volunteers.

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Rapaljeet added: “After our Langar event last year, we knew there was a need for this service in Leeds. It is something we are looking to do again already.

“Hopefully we can establish some sort of weekly or monthly distribution, whether that is inside somewhere like St George’s Crypt or on Dortmund Square.”

Langar is the provision of free vegetarian meals for all and is served up in gurdwaras across the world every single day. The concept revolves around the Sikh belief that every human being should have the right to free food.

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