Monumental events usually flash by at such a speed that those involved rarely have a chance to appreciate what has just taken place. Wednesday September 1st, 2010 was just such a day. The opening of the Seva Food Bank to clients was, of course, a big day in the lives of those who have worked to make it a reality and those families being served. What made yesterday even more significant is what it means to Sikh-Canadians across the country. We believe the Seva Food Bank provides us with a template on how we engage with the rest of Canada and how we develop our next generation of leaders.
To our knowledge, this is the first permanent physical Sikh institution designed solely to serve the greater non-Sikh Canadian community. Serving families in need provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our Sikh values on a daily basis – not through a PR campaign, but through personal displays of charity, humility and service. Every interaction with client families allows volunteers to demonstrate the best of Sikhi, not just with kind words, but with loving meaningful actions. Canada has given us so much and we need to give back in a visible, impactful way. This is why the parent organization of the Seva Food Bank is simply named Sikhs Serving Canada.
While most of our existing organizations are still run by our ‘elders’, the Seva Food Bank is entirely run by Sikh youth. By youth, we mean second-generation Sikh- Canadian twenty or thirty-somethings that are often told that they are the future of the community, but rarely given a chance to step up as leaders. The Seva Food Bank’s Organizing Committee is made up of nine young professionals, including five females. We are also supported by hundreds of volunteers of all ages, Sikh and non-Sikh who have all contributed to the success of our launch. The food bank exemplifies the type of next-generation Sikh-Canadian institutions needed in our community to engage our youth and provide them with the development opportunities that will mould them into leaders.
The Seva Food Bank will continue to provide healthy, nutritious and culturally-appropriate food to hundreds of families every month, but we aim to do much more. As we expand the services we offer to clients, we also hope to engage and inspire fellow Sikh-Canadians to get involved in their local community and truly provide Sikh youth a chance to develop and demonstrate their leadership potential. Thank you for your continued support.
In Chardi Kala,
Seva Food Bank Organizing Committee
(Amarpreet Kaur Ahluwalia, Amritpal Singh Gosal, Birender Kaur Gill, Gosha Sekhon, Gurmeet Singh Ahluwalia, Inderpreet Kaur Mudhar, Kulvir Singh Gill, Manpreet Kaur Gosal and Manraj Singh Pannu)
Download PDF version of this letter here.