How Middlesbrough’s Sikh community prepared hot meais for thousands of emergency workers

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Ian Stark and Alisdair Beveridge presenting Fatehjeet Singh and the Sikh community a Teesside Hero Award (Image: Doug Moody Photography)
By Asia Samachar Team | BRITAIN |

When lockdown began and our emergency services were working tirelessly, Middlesbrough’s Sikh community came to the rescue.

Seeing front line staff under such strain, they began making hundreds of free meals every week to ensure staff were getting a hot meal during their gruelling shifts.

Fatehjeet Singh is the present of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji (Middlesbrough Gurdwara), the Sikh temple on Lorne Street.

“It’s a part of the pillar of the Sikh religion that we make a vegetarian dish at the Sikh temple and all sit together as a congregation to share the meal together.

“When Covid-19 hit and the country went into lockdown, the temple was closed, the same as all places of worship.

“But at this time, we felt there was a need to provide food for key workers in the emergency services, such as the nurses who were going through so much, so that they had access to nutritious food and water when everything had been closed due to lockdown,” said Fatehjeet.

Middlesbrough’s Sikh community prepared, cooked and delivered between 800 and 1,200 meals each Thursday for ambulance crews, police, hospital staff and the fire brigade.

The volunteers would come together each week to prepare the hot vegetarian meals, to ensure emergency service staff got a substantial meal during their busy shifts, and they were greatly appreciated.

“The sort of feedback we were getting from the frontline workers who received the meals was that it boosted their morale and saved them having to make a trip to shops that were open for food.

“Some of the staff had gone for six or seven hours of a shift without food and they said we gave them the energy boost they needed to carry on with their important work.

“They thought it was unbelievable and were so grateful, which was all the reward we needed for our efforts,” added Fatehjeet.

Between April and July, the meals were delivered each week to The James Cook University Hospital, The University Hospital of North Tees, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade and to the local ambulance crews, as well as taking leftover meals to nursing home staff.

The food was generously paid for by members of the Sikh community, who have vowed to donate again should another lockdown happen in our area.

Read the full story, ‘How lockdown meal ban led to thousands of emergency workers getting a hot meal from Sikh community; (Teeside Live), here.

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