Sikh charity on the streets of Ilford helping to feed those most in need

Young members of the Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association�

Young members of the Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association� - Credit: Jagdeep Sohal

Volunteers opened their hearts to the homeless on Tuesday night as they handed out new shoes alongside their weekly free meal.

Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association’s (SEVA) Jagdeep Singh Sohal was among those in Ilford, handing out 80 pairs of new shoes on the night.

He thanked the community and the volunteers, some as young as six years old, for their generosity.

He said: “For Sikhs, we marked the new year with celebration of a different kind too.

“It is when we as Sikhs marked the 350th birthday of our 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

“So we see this as time of celebration and giving.

“After the appeal was made via our Facebook page and word of mouth, we were flooded with donations.

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“We were totally overwhelmed with the community’s generosity and we can’t thank them enough.”

SEVA, which has been distributing food to more than 80 rough sleepers weekly, since the summer of 2015, is supported by hundreds of volunteers.

Mandeep Kaur Chahal, organiser, said: “Once the items had been collected we had to organise the shoes to be ready for distribution.

“We had children as young as six at the Gurdwara Darmesh Darbar, in Roseberry Avenue, to help with the sorting and with the preparation of the usual food we prepare on a weekly basis.

“It really benefited the children as it really put into perspective how lucky they all are as they all have everything they wish for.

“It empowered them that they were helping someone out there.”

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