CARING and cooking go hand-in-hand for Tamworth's United Sikh community who are keeping local tummies full and putting smiles on faces across the city.
When their free food stall in Coledale was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, giving up was not an option for religious group, Tamworth's Guru Nanak Mission.
Now the pots of pasta and plates of curry are only getting bigger as the demand for free food orders dramatically increase.
The volunteer group recently set a new record for deliveries with 300 orders distributed to the community in one day.
Public officer for the Guru Nanak Mission Gurinderpal Singh said the number of orders had been steadily increasing, which he believed was due to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the region, people dealing with financial stress, and the group's growing social media presence.
Volunteers have been providing locals in isolation with double or triple the usual meals to keep the community safe.
"They can stay at home and eat the food and not worry about going out," Gurinderpal said.
"They're always happy when we do the delivery."
Willing to help out anyone doing it tough, volunteer Gurwinder Singh said the group had also been delivering to international students at the University of New England to help them start their future in Australia.
"Anyone is welcome in our organisation," Gurwinder said.
"Anyone who comes and gets in touch with us we can feed them."
Their efforts should come as no surprise to the community as the mission group actively participate in blood donations and raised thousands of dollars for local farmers in times of drought and those affected by the bushfires.
"It's our principle," Gurinderpal said.
"We're always helping."
But keeping plates full for hundreds of Tamworth residents has also meant that volunteers have their plates full of work.
Gurinderpal said that while they were managing the increased demand many people from the Australian community have offered to help out when the group sent out a message on social media.
"They're helping us with the Kootingal area, Nemingha and towards Manilla as well," he said.
While they only deliver to Tamworth, Gurinderpal said anyone who needed a meal was welcome to place an order to come and pick up.
The group deliver meals every second Sunday and orders can be placed by contacting them on social media.
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