The Sikh Community provides free meals for frontline workers

Image courtesy of Gurdwara Sikh Community.

By Eoin Meegan

Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar is a familiar sight in Sandymount, located just outside the village on Serpentine Avenue.
Formerly a cinema and then a theatre, for the past 34 years it has been a Sikh temple (Gurdwara), the home to the Sikh community in Dublin, and the centre of Sikhism in Ireland.
In 1986, when there were only about 15-20 Sikh families in Dublin, the community elders got together and bought this building, which was to become the first Sikh Gurdwara in Ireland. It is named after Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith, and is open to all faiths, including non-Sikhs.
It is not only a place of worship, but also a place of social gathering where communal meals are shared. The Gurdwara serves free vegetarian meals to visitors, and for the last three years they have also been serving food to the homeless in Dublin once a week.
Today, between 1,500 and 1,800 Sikhs live in the Republic with roughly another 300 living in Northern Ireland. Sikhs came to Ireland in the 1970s (they’ve been in Northern Ireland since the 1950s) predominantly from the Punjab region of India.
The original migrants were mainly restaurant workers and small business owners. Then, during the boom Celtic tiger years a second wave of IT professionals, doctors, nurses and students arrived here. The Sikh community are now an integral part of Irish society.
When the government restrictions were announced, Gurdwara congregations were suspended in the interest of public safety. However, volunteers took it upon themselves to cook and deliver meals to frontline workers during the pandemic, as well as continuing to look after the homeless.
As word spread within the community more people volunteered to cook, while others donated groceries. Approximately €10,000 has been raised online over the past two months. Gurdwara volunteers deliver meals to all the major hospitals (nine in total) in Dublin, and to 17 Garda stations, in addition to homeless people, people in quarantine, and students.
Over 40,000 free meals have been served to frontline workers and those in need since the initiative started two months ago by the Irish Sikh community. This is truly a wonderful achievement and the Gurdwara community has been receiving amazing feedback from everyone at large.
The Gardaí dropped in on three different occasions to say thanks, and staff from all the hospitals have written to them sending messages expressing their gratitude.
Dilmeen Kaur, one of the directors of Gurdwara in Dublin, told NewsFour: “Seeking ‘sarbat da bhala’ (welfare for everyone) is part of Sikh prayer, and the community is just giving practical shape to its prayer!”
Beautiful words, and we too at NewsFour would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Sikh community for their kind gesture.