GURU Nanak’s Free Kitchen (GNFK) once again delivered when it mattered most, and in the process did the community proud. The Chaldean Christian community, mostly refugees from war torn Iraq, were recipients of over 500 hot meals and drinks as well as 400 Christmas toys.
When the organisers of the annual Christmas dinner for the Chaldean community, namely Samira and Mani Fallon, approached GNFK, there was no hesitation on behalf of the volunteer-run GNFK to take part in such a humbling event.
The communal meal (Guru ka Langar) was cooked at Sukh Sagar Gurdwara in New Westminster during the day. Volunteers of all faiths took part, including a local veteran-run Aboriginal group. GNFK cooking coordinator Kiran Toor was surprisedat the turnout. “This is what multiculturalism in Canada is all about. Everyone pitched in, from cutting onions and carrots to washing huge cooking pots,” she said. Another core volunteer, Sarabjit Singh, said: “To have a federal minister cooking for more than two hours with GNFK is unheard of. Many thanks to minister Jason Kenney, whose arrival at the kitchen was a surprise, and even more surprising was his cooking skills. He must be a cook as his second job!”
At the dinner event, hosted by St. Matthews Church at 16079 88th Avenue, Surrey, it was great to see communities embracing each other and dancing together. Local MLA and minister Amrik Virk said: “This is Canada at its best, communities coming together at Christmas to share. We are thankful to the organisers of this tremendous event. It’s wonderful to see so many smiling faces, especially the kids who received the toys from the GNFK’s recent toy drive.”
Organisers of GNFK hope to make this an annual event. Navneet Bains, GNFK volunteer, said: “Our primary focus is to feed those in need, which we do every Sunday in Downtown Eastside and Whalley in Surrey as well as the First United Church on Hastings Street in Vancouver. But we have expanded so much recently that we have added more events due to mainly the generosity of the volunteers. We don’t ask for financial donations but merely certain food items. The Chaldean Christian community has suffered so much in Iraq, but this is what makes Canada great. We can all pull together to help those in need.” Another volunteer, Gurpreet Chana, added: “I love serving with GNFK at these kind of events. We have no hidden agendas. We just love to serve Guru Nanak’s way.”
It was a joy to see so many happy families especially kids most of whom received Christmas toys for the first time. The Sikh community can feel proud to have contributed to over 500 Chaldean Christians this Christmas.