Sikh community extends helping hand during COVID-19

Published On May 29, 2020 | By Gundeep Singh | COVID-19, News
Outside view of the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Mission Centre in Brampton. The temple is providing food to those in need. (Gundeep Singh)
Gundeep Singh

Manjit Singh Parmar, the secretary of Ontario Sikhs and Gurudwara Council (OSGC), says he’s is proud of the selfless services the Sikh community is providing during the COVID-19 crisis.

“OSGC is not only just serving the community but its target is to serve humanity,” he said during a telephonic interview.

According to the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Master of Sikhs, the religious community believes it is their moral obligation to serve the needy and hungry of every community.

“We are not just focussing on the Sikh community we live in, here we are also looking at the nursing homes of the senior citizens and we are trying to centre the help towards the needy,” Parmar said.

The management team is packing boxes with free food such as pasta and rice, depending on the taste preferences of different communities.

“There are more than 20 Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Ontario who are serving the free food from the community kitchen to the individuals who are in need,” he said.

International students are among the largest groups seeking assistance as they face many difficulties in this pandemic.

Parmar said the community believes food is one of the significant hardships for students as they do not get time to take care of themselves while they are working or attending online classes.

Ekjot Singh, an international student, considers Gurudwaras to be an essential place as it comforts those who struggle to have proper food.

Inside view of the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Mission in Brampton. (Gundeep Singh)

“Gurudwaras have always been helpful to the international students, (helping) everyone with its selfless service of providing food,” Ekjot Singh said. “Even now, Gurudwaras are helping the needy by distributing food or groceries.”

Parmar said some of the Gurudwaras in Ontario have opened their doors for the students to pick free food and raw groceries from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

He said the Gurudwaras are maintaining COVID-19 restrictions in the daily functions of the temples.

“We are strictly following the rules and regulations advised by the city authority to safeguard the health of our volunteers who are serving in the Gurudwaras,” Parmar said.

Ekjot Singh said students are happy with the way Gurudwaras are managing the restrictions while serving with selflessly.

“To my surprise, it is great to see that even at the time of this pandemic, the gurdwaras are open for the visitors and students like me, and also all the precautions are being taken,” he said.

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