Operation Stack: Humanitarian Groups from Sikh Community Supply Meals to Stranded Lorry Drivers in Kent

Humanitarian groups from the Sikh community across the country have united to deliver provisions and sustenance to hundreds of stranded lorry drivers in Kent as a result of border closures.

Khalsa Aid volunteers travelled over 80 miles from Maidenhead in Berkshire, to provide over 800 meals to stranded truck drivers in Kent. And members of Langar Aid, an international charity with a base in Coventry, joined the Sikh community in Kent as well as the local police and coastguard, to distribute hot meals to truck drivers stuck on the M20.

Over 2,800 HGVs have been stranded since Tuesday as a result of a French ban on travel into France amid fears of a more infectious strain of coronavirus. The truckers are at an impasse because of the closure at the boarder of Dover, leaving many unsure of when traffic will gain any momentum soon.

The volunteers, who are working with working with Sikh humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid, prepared 500 cholay/chickpea curries and 300 mushroom and pasta dishes.The meals were later collected from the kitchen by Khalsa Aid founder Ravinder Singh who, along with a Kent police escort, distributed them to the truckers along the M20.

“Everyone’s working together to feed the drivers[…]it’s been an amazing day and we are immensely proud,” Ravi Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid said.

He added: “From [today] it’s two days away from Christmas and these drivers don’t know if they’re going to be home or not. It’s horrible for them, there’s nothing here – no food, no shops – it’s like a prison for them. We can’t sit back and do nothing.”

Taking to Twitter yesterday, Khalsa Aid share a photo of the meals packed in Tupperware ready for distribution and tweeted: “800 Hot meals ready for the truckers stranded in #Kent due to #OperationStack ! Our thx to the #Kent Sikh community especially Guru Nanak Gurdwara Gravesend. for preparing meals on short notice #BordersClosed @Port_of_Dover

Ravi Singh took to Twitter personally to share a video of his attendance at the scene yesterday and tweeted: “It was great to work with the men & women from @kent_police, @HMCoastguard and the @HighwaysEngland to assist the truck drivers who are caught up in #OperationStack ! What an amazing bunch of people carrying out fantastic work under difficult circumstances! #BordersClosed.”

Harjinder Singh Kukreja took to Twitter to share a snippet of the fast-pace production that takes place behind the scenes in terms of food preparation and highlighted the importance of service in these challenging times.

He tweeted: “The Sikh community in #Gravesend has come together to make fresh hot food for lorry drivers stuck on the #M20. More than 1,450 lorries remain stuck in #Kent unable to leave Britain due to a travel ban imposed by France. Keep it up @Khalsa_Aid.”

Taking to Twitter, Langar Aid posted a donation request. “**Food Items Needed** We will be making goodie bags for truck drivers stranded by #Dover border. We are looking for the following items below: Food donations can be dropped off today from 3pm – 6pm& tomorrow morning from 9.30am – 12pm at Langar Aid House, 6 Doe Bank Lane, CV1 3AR”

Gratitude continues to swarm social media as many media outlets and broadcasters have recognised the generosity and altruism behind the services the Sikh community continue to deliver. LADBible shared a link to their article and tweeted: “The huge acts of kindness we all need during these difficult times”, which garnered over 7K likes. 

Follow the Kent Police and Kent County Council on Twitter for updates.

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