For the past 20 years, Tal Natt and his family have been handing out food free of charge at the annual Vaisakhi Parade held each April in Surrey.
It’s a tradition started by the first Guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Devji, and instilled by Natt’s parents – a belief that all humans are created equal and that they should share food together.
Last year the family doled out more than 300 large pizzas, 1,200 samosas, countless bags of potato chips, 500-600 cans of pop and even hot tea.
The 300 pizzas were devoured within an hour.
The area near 124 Street and 78 Avenue is a popular spot for parade-watchers, as almost every home on the street provides food.
“When I was young, I used to be the one handing out pop,” said Natt, “but now I’m often the one cleaning up.”
The family moved away from the parade route a few years ago, but the love of the parade and the community brought them back.
“We found a lot and built another house just because we missed the event so much,” he said.
They try to keep all the food as healthy as possible, serving only vegetarian meals and baked samosas instead of fried.
Natt and his father get up before 5 a.m. the morning of the parade to make sure everything is ready to go, including tents, music, ice and even ovens to keep the food warm.
Rarely are there any leftovers, however in the past they have donated any remaining food to the temple and to the homeless on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.
To Natt it’s all about giving back to his community.
“It’s about selfless service,” he said. “We really enjoy serving our community.”
This year the parade takes place on April 21. For more information on the event check www.surreyvaisakhiparade.ca