The Seva Food Bank in Mississauga, Ont, is an initiative of the charitable organization Sikhs Serving Canada. It serves low-income families by providing safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and is based on the Sikh tenets of seva—selfless service—and sarbat da bhalla—universal well-being.
Meeting a Need
The food bank was established in September 2010 by a group of second-generation Sikh Canadians in the Toronto area who wanted to follow their religious practices and give back to the country that has given so much. The founders wanted to find a way to apply their faith in Canada by engaging Sikh youth in leadership opportunities, accelerating the cultural integration of Sikhs new to Canada, and adhere to the practices of the gurdwara (house of worship), which establishes community kitchens in the gurdwara’s locale. Serving food is a form of worship; receiving it requires humility, modesty and equality.
Recognizing that access to fresh food is a big barrier to equal socio-economic status, the food bank’s founders were intent on establishing a warm and respectful environment where clients would be met with a smile from a volunteer who is happy to serve and treats clients with dignity. The Seva Food Bank is one of the few in the Greater Toronto Area that is run entirely by volunteers. It provides baby food, fresh produce, milk, pet food, and hygiene supplies to a growing list of clients who will, the founders hope, become volunteers when they are able.
The Seva Food Bank is located at 3413 Wolfedale Road, Mississauga, Ont.
Learn more: Seva Food Bank