Neeraj Walia is the director of Guru Nanak Food Bank in Surrey. (submitted photo)

Neeraj Walia is the director of Guru Nanak Food Bank in Surrey. (submitted photo)

For Vaisakhi, drive-thru donations sought at Surrey’s Guru Nanak Food Bank

Event set for Saturday, April 10

On a day close to Vaisakhi, Surrey’s Guru Nanak Food Bank will host a drive-thru donation event as a way for people to give.

The city’s large annual parade this year has been cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, the annual harvest festival is a place for free food during langar, a time for people of Sikh faith to come together to share a meal.

This is where Guru Nanak Food Bank’s food drive comes in.

“Normally people would come here to the parade, but it is not happening this year, for a second year, so instead we are having a food drive for people to give,” said Neeraj Walia, director and president of Guru Nanak Food Bank.

“This is a way for people to donate and celebrate Vaisakhi, and it’s safe – it’s all drive-thru and we will collect the food that way, so we can help more people this way.”

The food drive is set for Saturday, April 10 at #101-15299 68th Ave., Surrey, near Gurdwara Dukhnivaran Sahib. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., volunteers will accept accept donations of food and also money, by cheque or cash.

Guru Nanak Food Bank opened there last July 1, a few months after food donations were donated from the gurdwara when the pandemic first hit B.C.

Since opening, the volunteer-run food bank has helped hundreds of families on a regular basis.

“We have seen a lot of people need food and groceries, so we converted one area separately and named it Guru Nanak Food Bank,” Walia explained. “Now we have 754 families that get the grocery help on a regular basis, twice a month. It’s a big number and as this pandemic keeps going longer, we need to act more and need our shelves full to help the people in need.”

Needed are vegetables, canned food, soups, salt, tea bags, coffee, baby formula and more. “We are requesting people to give us food that has a long shelf life, and vegetarian food with a good shelf life, and not meat products,” Walia said.

The food bank space, donated by Anup Loodu, is open daily – from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

“People can come during those times, and there is no boundary limit, so even people from Vancouver can come take the food,” Walia noted. “If people aren’t able to come to the food bank, they can send a request on our website (gnfb.ca) and we will deliver the food to them.”

The food bank is also on facebook.com/GNFB.CA.

This year, Vaisakhi is officially celebrated on April 13.

Surrey’s cancelled Vaisakhi parade was to be held on April 24 this year. Typically, the event draws a half-million people to Newton’s streets each spring.

Volunteers are welcome to help during Guru Nanak Food Bank’s drive-thru food drive. For more details, call 604-580-1313 or 604-537-1440.

“Many people have been buying food for Vaisakhi and have it in their garages for a month or two, but now they can have this as a place to donate it,” Walia added.

• READ MORE: Vaisakhi voices in Surrey: What does Vaisakhi mean to you?



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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