7 days a week, 365 days a year, The Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) organise a ‘Soup Kitchen’ which consists of a variety of hot food and beverages that is distributed to the less fortunate, which therefore embodies the charitable side of the Sikh Religion. The charity is based on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who initiated the concept of “langar” over 500 years ago. Langar means ‘free kitchen’ for all, irrespective of gender, class, religion or social status. The main idea behind the concept of langar is community dining, equality amongst people and the manifestation of unity and sharing. Thus, what MLSS have managed to achieve, is taking the langar out of the local Gurdwara and rolling it out onto the streets for those who are in need of it the most. MLSS take no monetary donations for the food they serve, and all the food is donated by the local congregation and general public.
On Monday, 11th of September, The Midland Langar Seva Society – along with the help of The Virdee Foundation, and volunteers including, Ex-Premier League and England footballer, Emile Heskey – conducted a charitable offering of food and drinks to the homeless in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. Between the hours of 6-8pm, hundreds lined up not only awaiting their daily bread, but to witness one of their country’s greatest sportsmen distributing food and drinks to them which brightened up their lives and brought them in high spirits on a very gloomy Monday evening. Emile Heskey personally greeted the locals and took photos with them, which most definitely was a very special day for all involved.
Professor Peter Virdee established The Virdee Foundation to better the needs of abused women and children, and is also involved in numerous forms of charitable giving; with his most recent projects being a children’s school that was built in Congo and the entire refurbishment of the local Gurdwara in Shephards Bush, London.
MLSS was established about 4 years ago by 2 friends, Randhir & Pramjit, who wanted to help the homeless by doing some “Langar Seva” (selfless food service). They started in Walsall, just feeding 15 people and this number magnified rapidly over the course of the years, eventually spreading across the whole of the UK with the generous help of numerous volunteers.
MLSS have not only surpassed the boundaries of providing food within the UK, they astoundingly provide food giving in 16 other different cities across the world; including India and the USA, which serves up to 11,000 meals per week – equating to an incredible total of 44,000 meals every month! MLSS have remarkably expanded their global footprint, operating with over 100 core volunteers enabling them to successfully achieve their global mission. Their principle street feed is in Birmingham which operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is continuously growing.
Professor Peter Virdee, MLSS and the volunteers stand firmly behind the importance of charitable giving and strongly value the significance of it. The feed that took place yesterday was just the start of an alliance between MLSS and The Virdee Foundation, as both organisations anticipate in collaborating on other feeds in the near future.