Saskatoon Sikh community celebrates by helping the homeless

CBC News April 14, 2013 - Saskatoon's homeless shelters received a special donation from members of the Sikh community. On Saturday, Sikhs celebrated Vaisakhi — the anniversary of the founding of their religion.

It is widely celebrated by all Sikhs across the world by people taking part in community service and offering free food to their communities and the less fortunate.

In Saskatoon, more than two dozen Sikhs brought food to homeless shelters.

Gurwinder Singh, a member of the Sikh Society of Saskatoon, said one of the religion's principles is to treat everyone equally.

"The kind of feedback that we get is just priceless," Singh said. "We cannot compare it with anything else. It is just the thing that gives you the most satisfaction and helps you come forward in a more generous way."

Singh said they served curry, rice and samosas to more than 500 people at the Lighthouse, Friendship Inn and the Salvation Army.

DeeAnn Mercier, director of communications at the Lighthouse Supported Living, said it was a wonderful experience for everyone at the shelter.

"I really like that they came down with a lot of people to serve us lunch," Mercier said. "They were able to meet those clients we serve and a lot of them went up and said, 'Thank you' and how grateful they were."

Singh said the Sikh community is growing in Saskatoon. There are now between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the city.

"Next year, we are planning to do it on a larger scale so that we can have it some place downtown and have the free food, free kitchen, in open space," Singh said.

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