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Generous Donation from Gurudwara

I would like to share an incredible experience with everyone who is following my walk.

It was exactly one week before I embark on the long walk from the MCG to the SCG. On Sunday 6 November 2022, a close friend of mine, Sandeep Malhotra and his family, had sponsored the Langar (Bhandara) at the Gurudwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib (GSGGS), commonly known as the Keysborough Gurudwara. Sponsoring Langar means that you provide the necessary groceries, spices, and fresh vegies etc. to be cooked/prepared on the premises and served as Langar or free food around lunch time following the conclusion of the morning Path of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Shabad Kirtan by the Raagis (Classical Singers). It was reported that around five thousand devotees are served langar every weekend at this Gurudwara.

Sandeep had also invited me to the function. I asked him if we could request the Granthi (Pujari or Priest) to make an announcement regarding my walk from MCG to SCG in support of the McGrath Foundation. Our intention was to raise awareness in the audience and if possible, collect donations for the noble cause. We were told that no announcement would be possible without the consent of the Management Committee of the Gurudwara. We were told to wait and someone from the committee would talk to us.

Neither Sandeep nor myself knew anyone in the committee. The clock was ticking away and it was getting close to the closing ceremony of the morning session. We were worried that the opportunity to address the audience would be lost. After waiting for a few minutes, we approached a totally unknown face and requested for help. This stranger turned out to be Mr Pal Singh Arora who was a former committee member. He kindly took us to the Office where meeting of the management committee was taking place. Sandeep introduced himself as the sponsor of that day's langar sewa (service). I presented my case of the upcoming walk from MCG to SCG to raise one million dollars for the McGrath Foundation. I explained how the McGrath Foundation was helping the breast cancer patients and shared my thoughts as to why I had taken this initiative to support them. After a few minutes of Q&A, Sandeep had to leave the office to attend to other things connected to the langar sewa. The committee asked me to step outside the office and wait for a couple of minutes.

Within a minute or so, I was requested to come back in. The committee members had made a unanimous decision to support of my walk and make a donation of $3100 to the McGrath Foundation. I was struggling to contain my tears when the decision was announced and immediately a cheque in the name of the Foundation was presented. I issued a temporary receipt on the spot and the official receipt would follow in due course. I am still lost for words to thank the committee members appropriately. I would like to place on record my gratitude for their generous donation to support the McGrath Foundation. A Big Thank You GSGGS!

The above incident clearly demonstrates the kind-heartedness and generosity of the Punjabi community the world over. It also reaffirms the long held belief that if you take on a challenge to support a noble cause, the Australian public comes together, gets right behind you and supports you. The Punjabi community in general and the Sikhs in particular are always at the forefront of supporting initiatives like ours.

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