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Q&A with Tejinder Singh

Four years ago, Tejinder Singh started his food van to "feed local and hungry people." Once a month, after his 12-hour shift as a taxi driver, Singh cooks up a storm to feed those who need it. This recently earned Singh the Local Hero Award at the NT Australian of the Year Awards. We caught up with him for a chat.

What inspired you to start the food van?

A few years ago, an angry customer in my taxi asked me what school my children went to. I told him the name of the school, and the man replied by saying that he will send his kids to that school because I am not likely to do a bomb blast there. By starting the van, I wanted to demonstrate how generous and polite Sikhism is. Many people don’t know our history in Australia, and many Sikhs fought in Gallipoli in the Australian Army. I thought showing people would be better than theory.

How do you fund the food van?

I have a wife, a 3-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. Every day of the month, I take $4 for each of my family members and add a day’s pay to go towards to the food van. I give a serving of veggie curry and rice, plus a glass of cordial, to about 150 people each month.

What did it feel like to be named Local Hero at the NT Australian of the Year Awards?

I felt immense joy and pride. I was quite shocked that I got the award because I didn't think I was going to get it, and was very thankful that I had become a finalist. It was one of the most overwhelming moments of my life!

What would you like to see change in the community?

I have a dream that no one in Darwin will ever go hungry again – that is the biggest change I would like to see.

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