Seva Food Bank: People Helping People

By: Sundeep Hans

How many times have you opened up your fridge or your cupboards and said “there is nothing to eat” while looking at the fully stocked shelves? I have, many times in fact. The shelves would be practically overflowing, but if I didn’t see something I was craving at that particular moment, I would say this anyway to voice my annoyance.

There are so many people, not far away mind you, but people living in our cities, in our communities — our neighbours — who see the empty shelves of their fridges and cupboards almost every day. They live the reality of this statement because for them, all too often, there really is “nothing to eat”.

According to the World Food Programme I am part of the lucky group of people who enjoys food security. I have access to safe and nutritious food at all times. A Canadian Community Health Survey report in 2012 found that there are four million people in Canada, roughly 13% of the population who do not. These people, including 1.15 million children, experience some levels of food insecurity.

Seva Food Bank is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization that tackles the food insecurity problem directly. For the past six years it has served the diverse community living in Mississauga out of its two locations; Seva Food Bank Wolfedale and Seva Food Bank Malton. Each month it provides over 40, 000 pounds of food to about 700 local families (732 last month!) who are provided with safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, as well as other supports and education opportunities in their journey to self-reliance.

Seva or selfless service is one of the most important values of Sikhism. It is the value that forms the very foundation of Seva Food Bank. The entire team, the staff and volunteers — not all Sikhs by the way — passionately live this value. They understand that each of us has a responsibility to serve with humility, compassion, and gratitude. Funded solely by generous donations from the community and government grants, Seva Food Bank is in essence simply people serving people.

I have been volunteering with Seva Food Bank since January of this year. I joined because I wanted to help people. What I didn’t expect was how much my Seva experience would help me. I now see just how much I have and how privileged I am. It has also, I’m sure, made me a better Sikh because I now understand that ‘Sarbat Da Bhalla’ or the well-being of all isn’t just something that we pray for, but that it is something that we are all tasked with. I’ve learned that it is my responsibility as a Sikh, as a Canadian, and a member of the community to serve others.

To support Seva Food Bank this fall, you can call into the radiothon on CJMR 1320 AM at 905–338–1320. The radiothon will take place on Sunday November 20th, 2016 from 1:00pm to 6:30pm and again from 9:00pm to midnight. There will be a food drive at over 20 locations on Saturday Nov 19th, 2016. You can get details of all the food drive locations by visiting www.sevafoodbank.com.