US local Sikh community lends a big helping hand to Windsor homeless

Street Help Homeless Centre administrator Christine Wilson-Furlonger, centre, thanks Windsor Sports and Culture Centre members Sukhpal Banga, left, Jatinder Rai and other members during their annual donation of three truckloads of food, as well as money and other goods and clothing, on Thursday. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star.
By Doug Schmidt | WINDSOR STAR | US |

Three truckloads of food on Thursday were just part of the mountain of donations to Windsor’s Street Help Homeless Centre this week by the local Sikh community.

“They’re such a wonderful group of people with a wonderful spirit of giving,” Street Help administrator Christine Wilson-Furlonger said of the Windsor Sports & Culture Centre’s holiday donations. “We are very grateful — they show us so much love.”

In addition to filling up the homeless centre’s depleted pantry shelves, the WSCC, in its 14th year of giving to Street Help, also donated more than 75 sleeping bags, 70 blankets and comforters, 40 pairs of winter boots, hygiene products and a $1,000 cheque.

This week’s offerings to Street Help were the result of the WSCC’s winter holiday donation drive, said Sukhpal Banga, secretary of the social organization.

Sikhs don’t celebrate the religious meaning behind Christmas, but “we celebrate with our Christian friends,” said Banga. “The main thing is, we help the community through the Christmas holidays.”

Banga estimates there are about 1,000 Sikh families in the Windsor area. Additionally, he said, there are several thousand foreign students from the Indian subcontinent currently taking classes in Windsor, a large number of them enrolled at St. Clair College.

Windsor Sports & Culture Centre, established in 2005, organizes and participates in sports, education, culture and volunteer work across Windsor and Essex County. While heavily rooted in the Punjabi community, the club welcomes all members of the community to join and participate in its events and activities. According to the WSCC, sport is its passion and culture is its identity.

Read full story (Windstor Star, 28 Dec 2018), here