Sukhwinder Kaur: Sikh Volunteers Australia
Top cook Sukhwinder helps feed 200 hungry people every week
Sukhwinder Kaur is famous for her tasty cooking, but often it’s the quantity of food she makes that’s most important.
She spends at least 16 hours a week cooking meals for the hungry and goes out to deliver it every Wednesday and Saturday.
This has been her tireless routine for more than seven years as a member of Sikh Volunteers Australia.
The meals are distributed by the charity’s food van, which feeds up to 200 needy people a week.
But sometimes the recipients are in such dire straits that the volunteers buy them items from their own pocket.
One man, in particular, shocked Sukhwinder.
He told the volunteers that the food was good. But he also needed a tent because he was living in the bush, Sukhwinder recalls.
“I felt very sad. We bought him a tent and gave two or three containers of food to him.”
People often share their life stories with the volunteers, including one severely physically disabled man who came to collect containers of food to take home.
“One day he broke down and shared that he can't do much for his family but take food for them. Their stories give us strength and motivation to do more.”
The ever-smiling Sukhwinder is an effective recruiter and role-model for the charity and has inspired more than 30 other Sikh women to become "very active" volunteers.
She also spends her time teaching children the Punjabi language, heritage and music. She encourages the students to be community-minded and to speak up against bullying.
Sukhwinder is proud and happy to be voted a Westfield Local Hero. Charity work is all part of the Sikh faith, she says.
The Sikh Volunteers will use the $10,000 Westfield grant to fund the training of new volunteers and to buy new cooking appliances.
“It will pay for musical instruments too for the students,” says Sukhwinder.