Randhir Singh Heer first began the The Midlands Langar Seva Society four years ago and has since seen it evolve and expand to seventeen cities across the UK.
The Seva Society is well known throughout Birmingham for its open kitchen at Carrs Lane, which serves thousands of hot meals and cups of tea to anyone of any faith that attends, which can be up to two hundred people a night all year long. Randhir says, “Although the open kitchens provided by the Midlands Langar Seva Society have their roots in Sikh tradition, we support all and everyone in need of food. Helping people is something which spans every culture and every tradition.”
Helping people is something which spans every culture and every tradition.
An estimated 11,000 meals are given out per week. The charity, which was first established in Walsall, even has a charity in India and is planning to open one in California. Instead of asking for cash donations, the charity asks people donate food, cooking equipment and their time to volunteer.
For his work in feeding the homeless and street sleepers, Randhir is set to receive a Pride of Birmingham award, most notably the TSB Community Partner Award. But on top of helping the communities most in need, they also offer mental health services.
Randhir recalls an encounter in October 2016, “There was a man at a bus stop who seemed a sad. I went to talk to him and asked him over for a cup of tea. Then he opened up – his marriage of 27 years had ended, he had lost his job, he was homeless, he had lost everything.
“He said he had stood on a motorway bridge and contemplated ending it all. I put my arm around him and he cried. I told him we needed help with the kitchen and he became a regular volunteer with us. Mental health is as big an issue as homelessness and often people just need someone to talk to.”