In the spirit of seva, the selfless act of service, Sikh Youth of Victoria will spread some holiday cheer and serve a free Christmas Eve dinner at Our Place Society.
The youth group formed a relationship with the centre on Pandora Avenue in June 2017 in an effort to creative positive change within their community.
“It’s humans helping humans,” says Jatinder Singh, co-ordinator for the youth group, who have held monthly meals at Our Place since late spring.
“Being Sikhs and always having a free kitchen [a langar] in our place of worship, this comes naturally to us,” he says.
On Christmas Eve, a vegetarian curry – prepared by volunteers at a local temple – will be dished out to 400 people, and Singh estimates they’ve served 2,000 meals thus far.
Along with the monthly dinners at Our Place, the youth group previously partnered with the centre’s Project Connect, donating dozens of bags of winter clothing in November and in the summer, the group collected feminine hygiene products to donate to Tampons and Stuff.
After the terrorist attack in London, England in July, the group provided sneakers to Threshold Housing Society in honour of #ChrissySentMe, the movement to spread acts of kindness in honour of Canadian Christine Archibald, who lost her life in the attack.
Singh says a dozen pairs of sneakers didn’t seem like much to them, but the folks at Threshold, who provide support for transitional youth, were flabbergasted.
“It’s part of our culture anyway, charity, dignity, victory and as part of that tradition it’s been nice for the youth,” Singh says.
He adds that for many of them, seeing the level of need in their own city has been an eye-opening experience.
“They may have a certain stigma about who they might be serving, but when they get there, they realize it’s a wide variety of people from all walks of life.”
The Christmas Eve langar on Dec. 24 runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave. and is free and open to all.