Community spirit on display as meals prepared at Wolverhampton gurdwara

The spirit of different parts of the community was on display at a Wolverhampton gurdwara.

Pat McFadden and Stuart Anderson spent time at the Gurdwara helping to pack the bags and boxes
Pat McFadden and Stuart Anderson spent time at the Gurdwara helping to pack the bags and boxes

A collaboration between the STA Foundation and the Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Gurdwara, in Blakenhall, helped to provide a huge number of hot meals for families across the city while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Members of both the foundation and the Gurdwara started work at 6am to prepare more than 2,000 meals from the Langar kitchen.

They were joined by volunteers throughout the day to help pack the meals into bags and boxes, including local MPs Pat McFadden and Stuart Anderson.

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden packs some of the food parcels

The two MPs spent an hour working to pack the meals, which were pre-ordered and collected by organisations such as food banks, church groups and other charities.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson has had his own battle with the virus, having only recently recovered from it, and spoke about his honour at helping serve people in the community.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson with some of the bags being prepared

He said: "The STA foundation and the gurdwara do so much in Wolverhampton and to come along and just do my bit is absolutely humbling to see what's going on here.

"I don't think it can be underestimated how big an impact this virus is having on communities and across the country. This is providing a lifeline to people which is brilliant."

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The gurdwara is part of Pat McFadden's constituency of Wolverhampton South East and he spoke about how the work of voluntary groups showed the best of the human spirit.

He said: "We've seen a great coming together of churches and volunteer organisations, like here at the Sikh gurdwara, to get food and help to people who need it.

"People may be feeling isolated or can't go shopping for one reason or another and it's just our tremendous effort which shows the best of the city.

"People want to, if they're in a position to, be able to help out because this situation we're in is no respecter of wealth, or colour or creed or anything like that."

The planning of the kitchen donations was done over three weeks, with communications going on with organisations to find out how many families needed support.

Manny Johal, STA Foundation senior co-ordinator, helped organise the collections and promotion of the kitchen and said it would go on for as long as there was a demand for it.

In terms of how the kitchen and collection related to Sikhism, he said: "Sikhism is all about giving, so this is our way of giving vulnerable families or people in need or people in isolation.

"Various organisations across the Wolverhampton area have contacted us and said we need anything between 10 and 100 meals, and that's what we've prepared.

"It is specifically for organisations that know of families that are in need of some meals or some cooked meals."

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