Cllr Chaz Singh helps distribute free food at a ‘langar’ service in Plymouth.
AS people in Plymouth face their first week at work after the Christmas and New Year break, some councillors have been taking time to help the city’s communities before the formal business of council meetings gets underway again.
Councillors have been answering messages from concerned residents and beginning to help people in their own wards and across the city.
Cllr Chaz Singh (Independent, Drake) spent time helping to provide free food to people living in the city centre.
Known as a ‘langar’, a common practice in the Sikh faith, it requires people to share with others.
The langar took place on Monday at the Oyo Hotel in Plymouth where many young people are living on a temporary basis. Explaining why he was involved in providing food for those staying there, Cllr Singh said: “We’ve prepared ‘langar’, which means community kitchen, and it’s part of the ethos of being a member of the Sikh community.
“So the idea is that we have three core principles. One of them, ‘Wand ke Shakna’ is to share with others.”
The free vegetarian dishes, chick pea curry and a Punjabi style rice pudding, were made in advance and served hot in a communal dining area at the hotel.
One of chefs, Saranjit Kaur, explained what people would be getting. “We prepare a small vegetarian meal and we distribute that to those people who need food,” she said.
“This morning, we’ve made a chickpea vegetable curry.”
Saranjit was helped by fellow member of the Midland Langar Sewa Society, Jaswinder Kaur.
“Whenever we do a langar sewa, it’s always veg that we cook,” said Saranjit.
“So this morning we’ve made a chickpea curry and Jas here has made a kheer, which is a rice pudding.”
“We always do one sweet and one savoury.” Other Sikhs from the area also came together to make the food and help serve it. Jaspal Singh, who is director of a pharmacy in Bere Alston explained why he was there.
“The people in here they don’t have the facilities to cook food in this place – where they’ve been placed,” he said.
“So it’s just a service for them so that they can have a hot meal.”
All those involved in the langar thanked the management of the Oyo for letting them serve food to its residents and Cllr Singh added that when they hold similar events in the city anyone can have free food.
“It doesn’t matter. Regardless of your background, your social status and everything else, it’s an opportunity for us just to share with others,” he said.