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Suppose it was a matter of faith to feed anyone who needs food whenever they show up at your temple. For free.

Now, imagine doing that for 3,500 to 7,000 participants per day at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions.

That's what the Sikh community has undertaken. Providing "langar," as the free meal is known, isn't cheap, but the believers don't regret the cost.

The whole undertaking costs about $100,000, says Jagdish Gill, a local Sikh who serves as vice chairman for this gathering's langar.

This practice has been part of the Sikh religion since its founding in the 1400s, says Sukhbir Singh, who traveled to Utah from England to oversee the effort.

At that time, so the story goes, the founder's father gave Guru Nanak 20 rupees to start a business. When he returned, his father asked about the money, and the guru replied: "I met many hungry, holy people. Our first duty is to feed them. The true business of life is feeding."

Since then, Sikh temples have always offered a free meal.

The tradition also has been part of several previous parliaments, including the 2004 gathering in Barcelona, where they served an estimated 10,000 people per day.

It's clearly a crowd pleaser in Utah as well.

For the past two days, thousands of attendees have lined up to remove their shoes, cover their heads and get their taste of Sikh hospitality.

Most of the food is cooked at Utah's main Sikh temple, with some additional efforts made behind the scenes at the Salt Palace. Diners sit in lines on the floor and are served by volunteers — people of all faiths — who walk up and down the aisles dishing out rice, yogurt, chick peas, pasta and fruit in large tin buckets. They provide water to drink.

"Everyone sits on the floor," Gill says, "to show that there are no differences among us. No caste, no rich or poor. We are all equal human beings."