“We come here because we get food… A hot meal. It’s a luxury for me.” John, 55
John rarely gets a hot meal, and is one out of hundreds of people lining up on the Strand in Central London. The ‘Swat Team’, the Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team, hands out hot soup, drinks, chocolate bars and other supplies every Sunday evening to homeless people, overwhelmingly not Sikh. The group of volunteers carry out a centuries-old Sikh tradition: every Sikh has the duty to carry out Seva, a selfless service. Thousands of free meals are provided every week throughout the UK based on this belief and tradition.
The Swat team say they decided to take the concept of Langar outside its traditional setting in temples and out onto the streets when they saw a growing homelessness problem in London. Randeep Singh who founded SWAT says: “When you go to the temple, what’s the message? The message is to help others, help your neighbours. That’s what we are doing.”
Read more about this tradition and the SWAT team in this BBC article.