Members of the north-east’s Sikh community last night teamed up with local oil and gas workers to provide food to the regions’s less fortunate.
A packed Christmas food bank was set up at the Seaton Community Education Centre in Aberdeen to help some of the city’s most deprived people.
The event was organised by Mandeep Singh Khalsa of the north-east’s “small but passionate” Sikh community.
The 28-year-old, of Cove, said the food bank brought the Sikh community one step closer to setting up a “Langar” – a common kitchen and canteen for all – in the north-east.
The offshore consultant, with help from pal John Welsh, of Wood Group, gathered a huge amount of food donations for locals to stock up on for the festive period.
Tea, coffee, sugar and oatmeal were among the food items donated, along with baby food, milk and nappies for parents struggling to make ends meet this Christmas.
In Sikh cultures a Langar is a common kitchen and canteen area where food is served to visitors regardless of background.
Langars are usually set up in a Gurdwara – a Sikh place of worship – and only serve vegetarian food so that all people regardless of beliefs and diets can eat together.
Mr Khalsa, who is originally from London but whose family is from India, hopes one can be set up in Aberdeen next year, and visualises running a monthly curry night for the city’s hungry.
Mr Khalsa added: “The Sikh community in Aberdeen is quite small but full of passion. We haven’t got a Sikh temple at the moment, but everybody’s a good cook, all of our wives and myself, we cook quite well. Even without a temple we thought we would do a curry around Aberdeen.
“I contacted the guys at Wood Group about a food bank. We want to do this every month. Sikhs have been part of the British culture for more than 150 years. We have been here since the end of World War II.
“It is quite poignant that we are getting together to do something for our community. I have to give credit to the guys at Wood Group, Talisman-Sinopec, Sikh Relief and DNDK Limited. It is an interfaith thing.
“There’s going to be about 10 to 15 of us getting together every month. We are hoping to get a liaison as well with the council.
“We hope to show there’s no difference between people in India and the UK. We should be blind to colour, race, religion and any other difference – we’re all the same, and love Santa.”