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From free burgers to free produce, Calgarians show their holiday spirit

Volunteers with Guru Nanak's Free Kitchen help hand out free produce in Calgary on Christmas Eve, 2022. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Long before the truck showed up, lengthy lines formed near the McKnight-Westwinds train station.

Word got out that Calgary’s Sikh community delivered boxes of free produce — all donated by the Sikh community — Christmas Eve for anyone who shows up.

The Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen concept can be found around the globe but only introduced in Calgary this summer by a man who was involved in the charity in Regina.

“Our religion orders that whatever you earn, you put 10% for a good cause,” said Sandeep Sandhu with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Calgary.

The practice of  the communal kitchen and Seva — the selfless service of humanity — are philosophies taught by the first Guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji hundreds of years ago.

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For the Sikh community, the Free Kitchen is an opportunity for us to extend this Sikh spirit of helping those in need. Volunteers with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen also serve up hot meals at the Drop In Centre.

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“It gives me peace of mind and satisfaction,” Sandhu said.

Sabrina Wozny was thankful to receive some fresh fruits and vegetables.

“This is really important — it’s been a tough year. Produce is really expensive and this is just amazing for me and my son,” Wozny said.

The owners of Flipp’n Burgers donated 1,000 hamburgers to the Drop in Centre, the Mustard Seed and to whoever stops by the Kensington location in north west Calgary.  This is the fourth year the family has donated meals on Christmas Eve.

 

“My family believes in giving back. They are from Albania so they came as immigrants and they just try to help out anyway possible. We’re just trying to keep the tradition going on the 24th,” said Jorgji Qiro, co-owner of Flipp’n Burgers.

“It’s a lot of work obviously, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.”

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It takes plenty of hands to prepare 1,000 hamburgers — staff who work at the restaurant were up early Saturday morning volunteering on the burger assembly line.

“It’s Christmas time and everybody deserves to have a warm meal,” said volunteer Penny Martinez.  “It makes me feel good and I’ve been here for a while, so there’s a lot of familiar faces and it’s just nice to give back to the neighbourhood,”

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