Coventry Sikhs recognised for rescue convoy that fed stranded truck drivers
Coventry charity Langar Aid has been recognised for its quick thinking which fed thousands of stranded truck drivers in Dover days before Christmas. Last year, two days before Christmas, the international charity with a base in Coventry, joined the Sikh community in Kent to distribute hot meals to truck drivers stuck on the M20. Gridlock had descended on the south-east after France banned travel from the UK following the outbreak of a new Covid strain.
More than 1,450 truckers were unable to get home because the UK government warned of a new, fast-spreading variant of coronavirus, which led to the French border closing. As reported by CoventryLive at the time, thousands of meals were taken from Langar Aid House in Coventry to Dover. Watch the video at the top of this article to see Langar Aid’s rescue convoy in action.
In recognition of their efforts, Langar Aid were awarded the Community Organisation Hero Award at West Midlands Police’s Outstanding Citizens Awards.
Avtar Kaur of Langar Aid told CoventryLive: “We were just told we were nominated – there was over 200 applications for this award and two organisations who were shortlisted. “They announced that Langar Aid had won, that was quite great, to share it with all our volunteers. We were multi-tasking and doing our evening feed at the same time as the awards!”
Between March and November 2020 Langar Aid distributed over 150,000 meals to people right across the West Midlands.
They also set up food a distribution network which redistributed donated food to NHS staff, international students and the vulnerable.
Ms Kaur told CoventryLive that the award would not have happened without the efforts of Langar Aid volunteers. Recalling that freezing day in December they decided to make the 300-mile round trip to Dover, Ms Kaur said: “We didn’t know what we were going to find.
We were escorted by the police onto the motorway where the truck drivers were parked up and the amount of lorries there were, I was gobsmacked. from our Sikh community:
“With the help of the highway officers we were able to distribute to the truck drivers. “It was close to Christmas and they wanted to get home to their family and we couldn’t give them any more information and that was quite sad.
Khalsa Aid was there nearly every day doing Christmas feeds.”
It was raining all week, but Sikh groups were first on the ground to deliver food to distressed lorry drivers. Ms Kaur added: “When we got there on Christmas Day some truck drivers were moving and other community groups were there helping too. “It was great, it’s just that recognition, it’s more about spreading awareness about what Langar Aid is doing.
We’re not doing it for awards.”
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One Facebook user wrote: “Such an amazing team. Well done and well deserved.” Another added: “So well deserved, well done to everyone concerned.”
Another wrote: “Congratulations you are fantastic people. I will always remember your sincere offers of help at the start of first lockdown. I’m missing your gorgeous food but glad that you are able to help others less fortunate than myself.
Take care of yourselves x x x.”
West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem said: “Langar Aid have done excellent work throughout the pandemic to ensure those who are most vulnerable and isolated do not go hungry. “Not only have they supported the people of Coventry and the West Midlands, but they also went out of their way to deliver food for the lorry drivers who were stuck in Dover over Christmas.” Khalsa Aid and Langar Aid are currently doing an appeal for oxygen concentrators and oxi-metres to post over to India.
The are welcoming donations dropped off to Langar Aid House , 6 Doe Bank Lane, Upper Spon Street, before Saturday May 1.
For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org.