ONE MAKES a life by what one gives.
The Gurdwara Sahib Taiping soup kitchen began with 18 volunteers.
It has now expanded and will celebrate its first anniversary.
Formed with the aim to nourish the needy in Taiping, the soup kitchen is spearheaded by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who made time to contribute to the cause.
“Our first soup kitchen started on Nov 18 last year by a multiracial team,” said founder Balraaj Singh.
“We managed to prepare 80 portions of vegetarian nasi lemak.
“Our volunteers then delivered the food to the homes of the needy.
“We also gave food to beggars and mentally challenged individuals on the streets.”
Balraaj said the soup kitchen, which used to operate once a month, now offered free meals to the needy twice a month.
He added that they could do this because they had about 100 volunteers now.
“We plan to offer free meals weekly,” he said, adding that the soup kitchen reached out to about 400 people.
Balraaj said those involved in the soup kitchen were from different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil societies.
He hopes more companies will work together with the soup kitchen as part of their corporate social responsibility to feed the less fortunate in Taiping.
As the soup kitchen expands, Balraaj said they were working together with schoolchildren.
“Our volunteers once cooked and served at a food fair at Sekolah Semangat Maju where all proceeds were channelled to the school,” said Balraaj.
“We did not really sell our food but we encouraged visitors to contribute as they wished.
“We hope more schools will get involved so the students can learn about volunteerism and the importance of helping those in need,” he added.
Balraaj said all meals prepared at the temple were vegetarian and suitable for everyone.
They now have professional cooks dishing out meals at a fully equipped kitchen and donors sponsoring supplies for every soup kitchen session.
As a sign of respect for the house of worship, all volunteers come with their heads covered, he said.
Balraaj said a celebration has been planned for the next soup kitchen operation.
“We are nearing our first year celebration and want to celebrate with all of our volunteers and beneficiaries.”
Volunteers, he said, could assist in various departments of the soup kitchen such as cooking, distribution, logistics and home visits while donors could lend a helping hand by donating money or rations.