London’s Sikh community recognized for donating thousands of meals during pandemic
LONDON, ONT. -- For three months, a group of Londoners have quietly and under the radar delivered thousands of free meals for people in need during COVID-19.
However, volunteer Mohammed Hammoud decided it was time the public knew what was going on behind the scenes.
"I've been watching these guys and communicating with them online," says Hammoud.
"I've been inspired by work they are doing and I think we wanted to make sure they are getting a shout out."
The group is the Guru Nanak Mission Society (GNMS) and nearly every day this group of volunteers from London's Sikh community have been making hundreds of meals for donation.
"It's part of our religion that we try to help each other and give back to community," says Sarvarinder Singh, of the GNMS.
"Anyone that needs food we are going to try to help them."
Working out of the kitchen at 2010 Dundas Street, they both purchase and receive donated materials, then cook the food on site.
London Mayor Ed Holder stopped by Saturday before their first delivery of the day to show his appreciation.
"The people across the city being served don't know these people's names," says Holder. "However they've given 100's of hours, all voluntarily."
Holder adds that while many of the individuals in need don't know the anonymous donors, the organizations do.
"My Sisters' Place knows them, Rotholme Center knows about them, and so many groups in need know about them. When I see this and I couldn't be more proud to be a Londoner."
Since the pandemic, they've served over 500 individual families and more than 20 organizations.
Saturday's first delivery of the day was to My Sisters' Place where they took 100 boxes of rice, chickpeas and mixed vegetables.
Employee Christin Robinson was excited to see them arrive with two truckloads of takeout.
"What they are doing is honestly why I went into this job," says Robinson.
"You help people, and you do this to make sure people are fed and taken care of so they have a safe place to go."
A man named 'David' was walking by on Dundas Street when he heard he could stop in for a free meal.
"I ran into these people last summer and they were giving pizza away at Wellington and Dundas St. and I couldn't believe it," says David.
"It's a good thing what they do because a lot of people out there don't have nothing."
Singh says food is not the only way they are helping during the pandemic. Their organization is holding a blood drive at Canadian Blood Services on June 6.