Meet the incredible volunteers handing out 60 hot meals twice a week this Diwali

Incredible volunteers have been handing out 60 hot meals twice a week this Diwali.

Last year when Covid hit, Sanjay Sampit coordinated with the Bristol Hindu Temple to distribute emergency food parcels and hot meals.

Sanjay and co-organiser, Preash Petal decided to start a Bristol branch of the national charity, Sewa day volunteers and donate food to homeless shelters in Bristol for Diwali and Christmas.

READ MORE: What is Diwali and when is it being celebrated this year?

This morning, Friday 5 November, the three volunteers, Sanjay, Preash and Arti Patel donated food and toiletries to Help Bristol’s Homeless (HBH) in Bedminster and The Julian Trust in St Pauls.

They delivered an estimated 500 kilograms of donations, collected through their networks.

Sanjay said; “The majority of donations have come from the Hindu community in Bristol and across the UK but we have also received donations from neighbours and local shops

“Giving to the needy is one of our tenets, we all do it in little pockets.

“As Hindus we always do charity, we can all work together and make an impact.

“My view was why don’t we do it as a community and make an impact for one organization or another?” added Sanjay.

(Image: Yvonne Deeney)

Sewa is a Sanskrit word and is embedded in the Dharmic traditions of ancient India. It means to sacrifice your time and resources for the benefit of others without wanting anything in return.

HBH CEO, Jasper Thomas said, “It’s fantastic that we are having donations like this.

“It’s that time of the year when we start cooking for the street homeless, we will be doing 60 hot meals twice a week.”

HBH was founded to provide temporary accommodation to rough-sleepers and help get them back into work and in permanent accommodation.

The temporary accommodation consists of shipping containers which are rented at a discounted rate with all expenses and cooked meals included in the price.

(Image: Yvonne Deeney)

The volunteers then stopped off at The Julian Trust Homeless Shelter in St Pauls who were in need of toiletries for their guests.

They plan to return for Christmas where they will not only drop donations but will cook vegetarian Indian hot meals for the two charities.

They want to reach out to more homeless charities in Bristol this Christmas so they can give even more donations.

(Image: Yvonne Deeney)

After a day of volunteering, Sanjay will join his wife Didi, their two sons and parents for a Diwali meal and celebration.

For the fourth day of Diwali known as Govardhan Puja, the Sampit family are celebrating at home.

The Bristol Hindu Temple will be closed so the Sampit family have been following the live stream broadcast from the Hindu Temple in Neasden, North West London.

The temple in London is the biggest outside of India and the first in Europe to be constructed by traditional methods.

(Image: Sanjay Sampit)

Sanjay said the significance of the day has parallels with the biblical flood story.

The Hindu deity, Krishna uses a mountain to save the people in the village instead of a boat.

According to the story, he lifted up mount Govardhan to shelter people from a heavy rainstorm.

A mountain of food is put under the temple to represent the mountain that was lifted that day.

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