Granny’s Orange Lentil Soup

grandmas soup (1)

Lentil Soup Recipe


-1 cup dry orange lentils
-1 onion
-2 tomatoes
-1 potato
-1 carrot
-3/4 tsp turmeric
-salt to taste
-1 tbsp butter
-cumin to taste


1. Rinse lentils and put them in a soup pot. Pour water to cover 1″ above the lentils. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 mins.
2. Once lentils are cooked, blend them using a hand blender (if desired).
3. Add veggies and spices and cook until tender.
4. Add butter at the end.

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Saluting Our Ancestors


“The milk I use to drink in Punjab, that was 100% fat, best whole milk in life – fresh!” My parents, as with all I assume, talk fondly of consuming food and dairy straight from the farm. Not before first mentioning that we are always sick because of the way we get food in the modern world. Picked and packed before ripening somewhere in California, shoved in a truck that then drives thousands of kilometres, stacked in some big box grocery aisle, before it finally finds its way to our refrigerator – where it likely sits for a couple more days before we prepare it.

While my parent’s recollection of Punjab and old food culture may be simple nostalgia (things are hardly as good as people remember it being), the spirits of their memories are still important. Our health and the food we eat are intrinsically tied together. The studies are numerous, as is the anecdotal evidence, that we are healthier when we eat well.

The focus should be, ideally, on the nutritional value of what you are eating. Junk food is bad not just because it can cause weight gain, and other health issues, but because it is replacing your ability to eat more nutritional food. We should be picking up more colourful vegetables and fruits, adding more fresh greens and salads to our meals, and drinking more water. Easier said than done for many of us, as there have been times where I felt on the verge of scurvy due to poor eating habits (how I miss those university days). We are busy, our society is structured in a way to make purchasing food as we do “easier”, and many of us simply cannot afford to buy the healthier options. So what are some solutions to being able to eat better?

“Here is one weird trick that drives grocers mad!”

You can grow your own food.

Building a garden can be an inexpensive option to obtain fresh healthy food straight from the vine and onto your plate. All you need is some space in the backyard (or a balcony, or even by a window inside your house), simple tools like a hoe and shovel, some decent soil and compost, water, sunlight, seeds, and transplants. It is very easy to learn, and with the internet it is now even easier. Trial and error is the method, and you get some free exercise and fresh air in the process. While you will not be able to replace the grocery store, it’s still a worthwhile investment to build a garden and reap the benefits.

We were all farmers at one point in history, so salute your ancestors and get to work in the dirt (free pro tip: serious gardeners and farmers don’t like to use the term “dirt”, it is disrespectful to the “soil”). Your health will thank you later.

Jaskaran Singh Sandhu is the co-founder and president of KarmaGrow, a community garden initiative. He is also the Director of Development for the World Sikh Organization, and enjoys long walks on the beach. He lives in Brampton, the City of Best Quality People. 

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792,000 Meals


In this photo (Left to Right) Eileen MacKenzie, Goretti Raposa, Susan Chan, Afshaan Kohari, Brian Reusch
Photo Credit: Waneeka Hussain

“We all want to live in a community that leaves no one behind- for any reason”, states Eileen MacKenzie, CEO of the Community Foundation of Mississauga. “We continue to support Seva Food Bank because we want to ensure that we are addressing food security in our community.”

In 2014, Community Foundation of Mississauga distributed over $1. 6 million to the charitable sector in Mississauga. The Foundation has three pivotal roles. They work with donors providing comprehensive and flexible services so they can build an endowment base that will last forever, are a source of significant and sustainable funding for a broad range of programs and services in the community and they provide leadership in community convening and working to solve the root causes of emergent issues.

“Without the support of Community Foundation of Mississauga, we would not have the ability to operate two food banks in Mississauga. The Community Foundation of Mississauga has demonstrated leadership in food security. They understand that food security does not exist in isolation, but rather a symptom of something more systemic ”, explains Daven Seebarran, Executive Director of Seva Food Bank.

Eileen states that “food security is a fundamental human need, with a variety of causes and implications. “ She adds, “we know that hunger exists for many reasons and there are no simple solutions or easy fixes, but Seva Food Bank helps. We know that if you are a hungry child, you won’t perform as well in school. Seva helps with school readiness and helps children become successful. Seva also helps single mothers. Instead of putting resources towards securing food, they can invest that time and energy on finding non-precarious employment.”

“Our donors are members of the community. They are hungry for a connection with the community” echos Brian Reusch, Grant and Community Initiatives Manager at the Foundation. “Our donors support projects that increase the quality of life in the community. They are investing in the health of our community”.

In 2014, with the help of the Community Foundation of Mississauga, Seva Food Bank was able to provide support to 10, 417 people at our Wolfedale site and 7042 at our Malton, serving more than 792,000 meals.

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Youth Ambassadors Wanted

Farmer cultivating his field on old Farmall tractorSeva Food Bank is collaboration with KarmaGrow are pleased to announce that we are currently recruiting 5 youth ambassadors for “Peace Garden: A Multi-Faith Project”.  This project is generously supported by Inspirit Foundation, Community Foundation of Mississauga and The Co-Operators Youth Conference.

In Fall 2014, Seva Food Bank received funding through Inspirit Foundation Pluralism Grant.  This grant bring together people aged 18-30 of different spiritual, religious and secular backgrounds to dispel stereotypes and discover what they have in common, while collaborating on a community project.

The Peace Garden is a collaborative project of Sikhs Serving Canada Association, World Sikh Organization and Karma Grow.  It is in partnership with  The Knights Table, Catholic Family Services and Peel-Dufferin, several other community partners.  The goal of the project is to bring together youths of all faiths at a community garden- in the hopes of growing produce for several local food banks.Building on the Sikh concept of Seva (self-less giving), we will work with youth of all faiths promoting the philosophy of community services.

We are looking for 5 youth ambassadors to help in this program.  We are looking for youths from all faiths who are passionate about food security, social justice, and seva.  You can download a copy of the job description here.  To show our appreciation, youth ambassadors will receive an honorarium of $1000.00.

Time Commitment: 20 hours a month
Dates:  March 1, 2015- September 31, 2015

For more information on the project, contact Nima Lota at 905-361-7382 ext. 7

Click here to send your resume.

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Incentives at Run to End Hunger


At Seva Food Bank, we believe that a bit of competition can lead to great changed.  To keep our runners motivated, we would like to introduce the following incentives.

To celebrate your successes we have the following incentives.

Early Bird Draw:  All walkers who have raised $100 or more by March 31, 2015.  Please drop off your donations no later than March 31, 2015 at 8pm to Seva Food Bank.  On April 1, 2015, a random drawn will determine our early bird winner.

We will also be awarding great prizes and distinctions for the following categories:

1.  Top School Team- Fundraised Dollar
2.  Top School Team- Largest Group
3.  Top Corporate Group- Fundraised Dollar
4.  Top Team
5.  Fastest Runner- Female
6.  Fastest Runner- Male
7.  Most Outrageous Team

For more information on the run click here.

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Vitamin A: January’s Vitamin of the Month

Vitamin A helps maintain health eyes, skin, teeth, and bones. It’s also essential for renewal of cells, and plays animportant role in keeping the immune system strong. Our body doesn’t need much vitamin A, and too much (in supplement form) can harm your health, so it’s best to get our Vitamin A the natural way: from fruits and vegetables.  For more information, please the following link.


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Food and Health: An Opinion Piece


Food and Health
By: Amar Alhuwalia

It’s a new year and an opportunity to think about how we can make our lives healthier. There are many different facets that contribute to good health, including food. “Poor diet is associated with health problems that include colorectal cancer, low-weight births, and heart disease. Up to 80% of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented through lifestyle changes and healthy eating practices.(Metcalf Foundation) “  Seva food bank realizes that unfortunately not everyone has access to a nourishing diet, which is why we are working towards creating a more food secure community. At the regional level, Seva is participating in creating a peel food security policy. At a community level, Seva is collaborating with Karma Grow to create a community garden, connecting with farmers markets to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables, and working with volunteers to provide healthy recipes for clients and community members.

Food plays such a central role in our lives, a large portion of our incomes goes towards purchasing food, because it’s essential to our survival.   Many of our social activities also centre around food, as we spend hours with family and friends during meals. It provides us with comfort and helps us heal and recover from illnesses. Food also intersects many different areas of life, from the environment, to health, to the economy. Therefore, policies are needed to encourage environmentally friendly agricultural practices, making healthy food products more affordable (fruit, vegetables, dairy products ect.), and supporting health care providers in prescribing access to healthy foods. However, in order to create change we need to work together as a community to advocate for healthy food policies because access to healthy food should be considered a basic human right. If you’re interested in getting involved in any of mentioned initiatives, please connect with Marianthi Karras.

Lastly, in addition to participating in advocacy efforts, we can also make changes at an individual level by making healthier choices. Here are some simple tips for a healthy diet, as recommended by the Canada Food Guide:

  1. Try to fill half of your meal plate with fruits and vegetables and split the other half with protein and carbohydrates
  2. Limit intake of trans fats
  3. Reduce salt intake
  4. Increase foods with fibre (whole wheats/grains, legumes, vegetables)

If you have further questions about health and food, you can also access resources from the following websites:

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Soup of the Month: Sabina’s Hearty Vegetable Soup


Keep warm this winter with this healthy, nutritious and easy to make vegetable soup.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 carrot, grated
  • celery rib, chopped
  • 1/4 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 large potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable/ chicken or beef broth
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Dash pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

To Make:

  1. In a small saucepan, sauté the carrot, celery, green pepper and onion in oil until tender. Set aside 4 tablespoons broth. Add the tomatoes, sugar, pepper and remaining broth to vegetable mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth; gradually add to the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3 Tips from Sabina:

1.  By grating the carrots, it reduces the cooking time of the soup.
2.  By microwaving the cubed potatoes for 3 minutes.
3.  Add beans or lentils to this soup for added protein.

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10 Memories from 2014


2014 was a year filled with many memories. Over the past few weeks, the team at Seva Food Bank has been asking our volunteers, client family and management team about our favourite memories from 2014. Below is a list of some unforgettable moments at Seva Food Bank.

 1. Opening the Doors to Seva Malton

On February 3, 2014, Seva Food Bank Malton opened it doors. A team of volunteers worked countless hours converting over 8000 square foot space into a grocery store model food bank. “Finally seeing the finished shelves fully stocked in Malton. I think that was my best memory this year.” , explains Gurminder G.

Did you know that it costs $500.00 a day to keep our doors open?  Read more.

2.  Serving Client Families

Each month, Seva Food Bank serves over 1650 individuals. We operate a grocery store model where people have choice in the food they take home. Waneeka S. explains that “One day I personal shopped for a client , and she was an elderly lady so while leaving she touched my head and blessed me, thanked me for helping her and the community. And also said “May God give you many years ” in Punjabi”. Waneeka further states, that these personal experience are what keep her coming to Seva Food Bank.


3.  Seva Garden

In May, a team of 100 volunteers got together and helped to cultivate ½ acre of land in East Caledon. This partnership with KarmaGrow, helped to supply over 300 pounds of fresh, locally produced food to support our client families on a weekly basis. In 2015, we plan to expand this project.

To support the Seva Garden, please consider making a gift to Seva Food Bank.  Your gift will help provide safe, nutritious, and locally produced food to people living in Mississauga.  To donate, click here.

Interested in helping with the Seva Farm in 2015?  Please contact Nima Lota.

4.  Family Summer BBQ

In September, Seva Food Bank brough together the families from our Wolfedale and Malton Sites for the 2014 Annual Family BBQ. This year, our theme was Alice in Wonderland. Special thanks to Councillor Ron Starr and MPP Jagmeet Singh for their support of this amazing event. Planning for the 2015 event has started.



5.  Guru Nanak Radiothon and Food Drive

In November 2014, the producers at CJMR 1320 hosted it’s annual Radiothon and Food Drive. That event helped raise over $100,000 in pledges to Seva Food Bank and 30,000 pounds of culturally appropriate food to our client families.  The Punjabi producers at CJMR 1320 have helped to raise over $400,000.00 at Seva Food Bank.

Interested in coordinating a food drive for Seva Food Bank?  Contact Manmeet Singh.

6.  Malton 2.0 Designing

In Spring 2013, the team at Seva Food Bank started the redesign of our Malton site. Dubbed Malton 2.0, the design was overseen by a team of architects at Perkins + Will. The design incorporates Sikh design philosophies, with a modern take on food security. This space will be one of the most innovative food banks in Canada.

Interested in helping build Seva Malton?  Please contact Daven Seebarran at or 905-361-7382 ext. 3.

7.   Seva Van

Early in 2014, the Community Foundation of Mississauga generous donated a refrigerated truck to Seva Food Bank. The van allows us to increase access to safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food to families living in Mississauga.

Did you know that it costs Seva Food Bank close to $3200.00 to keep our van on the road? To make a gift to Seva Food Bank, please click here.

 8.  Redesigning Wolfedale

In September 2014, the staff at Seva Food Bank started the process of creating a clientcentric space. This started with designing the front of house to be more comfortable. This led then led to the implementation of the grocery store model at Seva Wolfedale. The volunteer lounge also had a facelift. “This does not even look like the same space, I like it, I really like it” stated Gabriella, a shift lead volunteer at Seva Wolfedale.


9.  Seva Breakfast Program

In Spring 2014, with funding from United Way of Peel Region, and in partnership with Families of Virtue, we served hot nutritious breakfasts to students at Morningstar Middle School. Each morning we served 90 students.

Did you know that children who go to school hungry often under-perform? You can help end childhood hungry for people in our community. Donate online today.  To find out about our incredible programs, please contact Neeva Sandhu.


10.  Making New Friends

“My favourite memories of Seva Food Bank is spent with the other volunteers”, states Bartosz G, one of our star volunteers.  “Seva is like a family”.  Volunteers at Seva are at the heart of everything we do.  They assist in helping families with their food, program plan, and fundraise for the organization.  To join the seva family, contact Marianthi Karras.

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3 Ways to Give Back this Season

Baby Girl at the Kitchen TableAs we all sit back and enjoy our amazing meals this holiday season, it is very important that we remember that there are hundreds of people in our community facing food insecurity.  Seva Food Bank is committed to meeting the needs of the community by providing safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate and personally acceptable food.  Our Malton and Wolfedale sites serve approximately 1650 people each month.  Unfortunately 2 in 5 are children.

“Seva Food Bank provides my family with a lot of great food, but also many opportunities to do things we could not otherwise afford to do” says Linda, a single mother of two.  Linda and her family have been using Seva Food Bank for a year.  “We have always wanted to see a Maple Leafs Game, my boys- they love hockey.  When we heard that Seva Families could see a game I jumped at the opportunity”.  Linda and her sons, joined several other families at the Air Canada Centre to watch the game.  “Box seats.  We were treated so well.  My sons loved it.  They could not ask for a better Christmas gift”, Linda states.    As registered families at Seva Food Bank, Linda and her family have access to many additional services.  The partnership with Kids Up Front, a GTA-based charity, provides our families with many opportunities, like hockey game tickets, summer camps, and concerts.

You can help families like Linda’s.  Here are three ways to give back to the community this holiday season.

Donate Funds

Seva Food Bank relies on the financial support of donors just like you.  Did you know that it costs $500.00 a day to keep the doors open?  That is rent, utilities, and telecommunications.  All funds support programs and services for low-income families.  To donate to Seva Food Bank, please click here.

Donate Food

Your food donation will support local families.  In November 2014, Seva Food Bank distributed over 62,000 pounds of safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate and personally acceptable food to the families we serve.  Approximately, 40% of the food distributed to the community was generously supported by community members just like you.

Your gifts of rice, lentils, canned fish, cooking oil, baby food and hygiene products are especially important this time of year.  To arrange a food donation this season, please email us at

Donate Your Time

Seva Food Bank could not exist without volunteers. Volunteers are an integral part of our team and are essential in providing the best services to the families that we serve.

Volunteers work in all aspects of the organization. They assist in policy development, governance, serving clients, and fund development. Their expertise guides us as we move into the future.

To volunteer with us, please email us at

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