Langar : Parliament of the World’s Religions helps feed Toronto needy

 In Saints and Service, Sikhism

Langar : Parliament of the World’s Religions helps feed Toronto needy

Sikh community donates surplus meals to local shelters food centres for the hungry

TORONTO, ON (November 6, 2018) – Some of Toronto’s neediest residents are getting fresh, nutritional meals this week, thanks to the generosity of participants at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Regions.

The seven-day event, the largest global interfaith gathering, began Nov. 1 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will wrap up on Nov. 7.

Each day of Parliament the Ontario Sikhs Gurdwara Council prepares a feast for attendees called a langar – a free meal served to all visitors of religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity. Rather than allowing leftovers to go to waste, Parliament organizers have made arrangements with convention centre Catering Manager Tom O’Donnell for hundreds of surplus meals per day to be donated to Toronto centres that help feed the hungry.

Parliament Emeritus Trustee Solomon Katz and his co-organizer, Dr. Tom O’Donnell, Sustainability Coordinator, US EPA praised the leaders Manjit Singh director Mohammad Singh chef and Jaswinder Singh and the many members of the Ontario Sikhs Gurdwara Council for their kind-heartedness and the support of Bruce Kellogg of Metro Toronto.

“The generosity of the Sikh community in preparing food for the thousands of participants in the Parliament, to be eaten for free, is alone extraordinary,” he said. “It shows their compassion to give the surplus meals to the hungry of Toronto and is part of the Parliament’s efforts to turn hopeful words into action by caring for the poor and hungry and conserving good and healthy food that might otherwise be wasted.”

The Sikh community made similar donations in 2015 when Parliament was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, helping to feed thousands of people at local soup kitchens and shelters.

“This food sharing is one more concrete example of the grace, goodness and generosity that the Parliament can bring to the site of its meetings,” Katz said.

“The Langar is offered by the Sikh community in the spirit of sharing but not charity. Charity assumes inequity of status but in sharing we are all equal,” said Tarunjit Butalia, Trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Trustee of Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations.

Toronto’s Parliament features more than 500 programs and events, including notable keynote speakers such as: former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, Dr. Payam Akahvan, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Dr. Karen Armstrong. The Parliament will explore three themes: The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursing Global Understanding, Reconciliation and Change.

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