Midlands volunteers mark National Langar Week

Sikh temples offer free, vegetarian food to people of all backgrounds at their langars Credit: PA Wire

Volunteers at Sikh gurdwaras across the Midlands are today marking the beginning of National Langar Week, to highlight the huge increase in non-worshippers using temples as a place to eat. The event runs until the 7th of November. While gurdwaras are open to all, volunteers say some places of worship are now struggling to meet an increase in demand for people coming to eat free meals.

Foodbank use across the UK has increased over the past year, with nearly a million people using them.

Sikhs attending a Vaisakhi parade in Wolverhampton Credit: ITV News Central

It is the first time Sikhs across the Midlands will be taking part in National Langar Week. Langar is the name given to a 500-year-old system introduced to eradicate segregation and promote equality, while sharing food at the same level among all congregations. Around 300 gurdwaras across the country serve free hot meals to all for up to 14 hours a day every day of the year. Figures from the Sikh community show around 400 tonne of flour, lentils, rice, vegetables, salt, sugar and more is used weekly in cooking meals - all of which is paid by community donations.

"Sikhs share the same British values as the rest of the country...We set up National Langar Week in order to open the doors to our communities as well as our way of life, and what better way in which to do this, than by the sharing of food. We have a vast number of youth-led Sikh societies, some of the largest Sikh Gurdwaras in the UK and community groups who will be holding special events up and down the country and we urge everyone to feel welcome and to take part in the activities.”

– Rupinder Kaur Virdee, co-founder of the Sikh Press Association

Click here to see more stories about the increased use of foodbanks across the Midlands.