Hammond restaurant to offer free vegetarian meals to the public April 9-16

Owners will also donate meals to hospital workers every night

Indian restaurant in Hammond serving free vegetarian meals

HAMMOND, La. (WAFB) - The Sikh religion teaches its followers to serve and give back to their communities. That is exactly what the owners of the Punjabi Dhaba restaurant in Hammond are doing.

The owners of the restaurant are giving away free meals from April 9 to April 16 to anyone who stops by. The meals are vegetarian and will not be spicy the owners said.

“I just want to do it for my people, for my local community, for everybody," Sarmukh Singh owner of Punjabi Dhaba said.

The Indian restaurant has been closed since restaurants were forced to only provide take-out, delivery, or drive-through service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is our way of giving back to our community. It’s what our religion tells us to do. We will start with seven days and depending on the need in our community, we will go as long as we can. It’s something that is in our heart to do,” said co-owner Goli Singh.

After things shut down at the restaurant at 5 p.m., Singh shifts gears. He then delivers langar to the hospital in Hammond as well as to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“Police department, the fire department, the hospitals especially the hospitals, the employees, the nurses and doctors and I want to do my best to give, Singh said. "I can feed them because they are working for us, they are trying to save us.”

Sarmukh Singh delivering to the Tangi sheriff’s office on April 9.
Sarmukh Singh delivering to the Tangi sheriff’s office on April 9. (Source: Samukh Singh)

In the Sikh temples, which is called a Gurdwara, after services, a vegetarian meal is provided free of cost to the congregation and anyone else who wants/needs a meal. In Gurdwaras across the world, hundreds of thousands of people, including the homeless, are provided vegetarian meals (referred to as a “langar”). Per the religion, a langar is not to be served with meat.

The Golden Temple, a Sikh temple, in Amritsar, India that is made of all gold
The Golden Temple, a Sikh temple, in Amritsar, India that is made of all gold (Source: Kiran Chawla)

Which is why this free boxed meal will not include any meat.

With no Gurdwara in Hammond, Singh decided to start serving langar out of his restaurant, for free to anyone.

“It is not that I am just giving one box. I can give 10 boxes to even one person. There’s no limit on the boxes. If one person asks for 20 boxes, I can give 20 boxes as well,” said Singh.

Thursday was his first day to feed the community langar. He said he expected to hand out about 100 meals. To his surprise, he topped 500 plates in just one day.

“I was so happy. I feel so proud about it also,” said Singh. “Now at this time, we have to help each other. We have to give everything we can to anybody else.”

“If there is a need past seven days, we still continue with the boxed meals for 2, 3, 4 or however long we are needed,” said co-owner Paul Jammu.

The restaurant is located inside the Shell gas station at 2201 SW Railroad Ave. in Hammond. Anyone is welcome to get the meals.

Follow the restaurant on Facebook here or view a menu here.

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