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Edmonton Sikh pizzeria owner offers free meals to anyone in need

Edmonton Sikh pizzeria owner offers free meals to anyone in need

Just seven months after opening his pizza and donair shop in southeast Edmonton, Rajwinder Singh decided it was time to give back to the community.

In late November 2023, he began setting aside 10 free meals a week for anyone in need.

He attributed the idea to his faith, Sikhism, and to the timing of the celebration of the birthday of the founder, Guru Nanak.

“We are just following their path,” Singh said.

Langar, a community kitchen that provides free meals, is an age-old custom of the Sikh faith.

The concept was introduced by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and was institutionalized and organized by his successors.

Singh chose the number of meals based on the Sikh principle, where 10 percent of your income is donated.

He said he has provided free meals from his store, Pizza Talks & Donair, to individuals and families, as well as to people who visit his store once or to others who visit repeatedly.

“We have one family here and they live in a van. They usually park here overnight and we told them to come every other day to get the meal,” he said.

Singh said that during the cold season, when few people came to the shop, he took the meals to the city centre to distribute them among the vulnerable population.

Singh opened a shop with his sister in April last year. Both siblings have a background in hotel and restaurant management.

Despite the rising costs hitting their business, Singh remains true to his commitment to supporting those in need.

“Our hearts are with those people, because we are new to this business,” he said.

He admitted that the company was not yet making a profit, but also said that this was to be expected for a new company.

“We are still here for the people,” he said.

He said they have a number of loyal customers who have been coming since the opening, and some of them have gone out to buy meals to support his initiative.

“Every week we have one or two customers who want to help, for example by donating meals,” he said.