With the news of a new strain of coronavirus making rounds, governments started panicking and taking safety measures to prevent a second wave of infections. One of the main measures taken by various countries was banning any sort of travel to and from the UK.
Due to this travel ban, UK officials stated that on Tuesday over 632 trucks were waiting on the M20 Motorway in Kent and an addition 2,000 trucks were parked at the nearby Manston airport. Stranded away from their families during the holiday season, these truckers awaited Covid tests so they could be allowed to cross the borders once again. They had no access to proper toilets, waiting rooms or even food facilities.
However, they soon got help from the Sikh community in the UK who volunteered to provide them with free hot meals during this tough time. The Sikh community at the Guru Nanak Darbar temple in Gravesend, Kent, partnered with the KhalsaAid NGO and were successful in delivering over 500 chickpea curries and 300 mushroom and pasta dishes to the hungry truck drivers.
Members of the KhalsaAid travelled over 130 km to serve food and made sure no one went hungry. Even the Sikh charity's Langar Aid travelled double the distance from Coventry to keep up the steady supply of food, water and medicines.
Whilst social media praised the volunteers and thanked them for their generosity in these tough times, this deed is a regular practice in Sikhism. They believe that irrespective of their gender, caste or religion people should be provided with food and this is why the Langar or the community kitchen of their temples regularly offers food not only to the less fortunate but whoever is in need of it. This was even seen when the Sikhs of New York prepared over 30,000 free meals for people in need during the beginning of the Covid 19 outbreak in New York.
Founder of The Khalsa Aid, Ravinder Singh, coordinated the deliveries and told Reuters “We in Sikhism, we have the concept of langar, which means community kitchen. We are British Sikhs and the least we can do is to practise our seasonal goodwill: two days from Christmas we have people on our soil who are homeward bound and do not know what is happening.”
“To see a solitary truck driver in his cabin on a horrible wet evening on the side of the motorway, it drives you to do more for them. They were very appreciative but you could see they were down as they were unsure if they would get home for Christmas.” he also added.
Apart from providing them with hot food, the group also began raising awareness and funds to help the truck drivers, through social media channels like Instagram. Called #OperationStack, they aimed at seeking any sort of supply donations for the truckers stranded at the Dover border.
During such troubling times, it is heartwarming and comforting to see kindness being shown to strangers. Whether it is in the form of food supply, raising awareness or just some sort of support, helping one another in a time of crisis can go a long way.