Sikhs feed stranded drivers, collect money for B.C. flood aid

The Sikh community has rallied to the aid of truck drivers stuck in B.C. after flooding took out roads and bridges in the province. They are also offering help to others affected by the disaster. Dalbir Singh Gill, president of Kamloops Gurudwara Sahib Society, in Kamloops, B.C., said his organization helped around 400 truckers in the area.

Volunteers pack meals for the needy at Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen)

He said, “Some of the truckers who were stuck on the roads due to flooding, they are starting to move now.

The situation is still not that good, but it is improving.” Some drivers were stranded in groups of 30, 40 or 50. “We did whatever we could. We cooked food in the gurudwara and delivered it to wherever they were stuck.

Whatever they needed, we supplied it,” Gill said.   Some drivers came to the gurudwara and picked up the food for the groups as well. Gill said the entire Sikh community in the area volunteered to help.

Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver prepared a large quantity of meals a couple of days ago. The food and supplies were transported by helicopter to communities hit by the flooding. Indy Panchi, a volunteer says the charity has more than 400 volunteers, not just of the Sikh faith, but from all backgrounds.

The helicopter was arranged by some individuals and volunteers with vehicles distributed the food and supplies to the affected communities. “We follow the principals of Guru Nanak – ‘love all, feed all’,” he said. “Our goal is to feed those in need, including truck drivers and those stranded due to the flooding.”

Sikhs feed stranded drivers, collect money for B.C. flood aidVolunteers pack meals for the needy at Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen)

The charity has a lot of skilled cooks and vehicles. “There is nobody on the payroll, they are all volunteers,” Panchi said. “Due to the generosity of the community, we’ve got a lot of food donations. We are able to cook 800-900 meals within two hours.”

Across the country, the Ontario Sikhs and Gurudwara Council met Thursday night and decided to collect donations. The funds will be sent to organizations that are active in B.C., like Khalsa Aid and Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen. Representatives of the gurudwaras were at the meeting, said Inderjit Singh Jagraon.

“Today (Friday), is Guru Nanak’s birthday and a lot of people are going to come to the gurudwaras,” he said. “It will be announced from the stages about the collection.

We will also seek donations on Saturday and Sunday.”

Jagraon, president of the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario, said bikers are also helping collect donations for those impacted by the floods over the weekend.