A Sikh tradition helps feed the hungry in Los Angeles, no strings attached

A Sikh center was already serving food to thousands, including protesters and the homeless. A new partnership with the city of L.A. ramps up the giving, to help the disabled, reports Los Angeles Daily News

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Sikhs at the Khalsa Care Foundation prepare 3500 meals for seniors and the disabled on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at their Pacoima gurdwara. Five days a week volunteers, not all Sikh, prepare the meals for those who have been in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
By Ryan Carter | UNITED STATES |

“Seva” is alive and well in Pacoima.

Every day it’s what fires up the giant cooking containers full of rice and pasta. It’s what powers the assembly lines of volunteers from all over Southern California who package meals — curry, thai, pasta and a sweet treat with a bottle of water — atop rows of tables.

It’s what gets those meals to households from Palmdale to Long Beach to Pasadena and Los Angeles, where the pandemic still draping the region has crushed livelihoods, left families struggling and kept seniors and disabled isolated.

Seva — or “selfless service” — is happening at the Khalsa Care Foundation Gurdwara — a Sikh temple that’s served the area for 15 years.

The massive amount of food prepared and distributed every day here is nothing new for a community of faith whose tradition of selflessness goes back centuries. They know how to feed the world, and it’s happening from New York to India. Amid the chaos of COVID-19, and even among deep social pain and unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, local Sikh Americans have found renewed energy, across the Southland and also just off Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

One day, it’s preparing and serving up meals to waves of protesters on L.A.’s streets. The next, providing much-needed meals to struggling families in Palmdale.

And so on, every day of the week. No strings attached.

No proselytizing. No preaching. No preference for a person’s position in life. Just goodwill and a sticker on the lid of each meal’s plastic tray that reads: “Sikh Community Lending a Helping Hand.”

The goodwill was recently tapped by LA leaders, who teamed up with the Gurdwara (translated as temple) for a new goal. The center was already hosting a once-a-week drive-thru hot meal program, and since its beginnings 15 years ago it was preparing hot meals for homeless shelters and other non-profit organizations.

Read the full story, ‘In LA’s pandemic moment, Sikh community taps an ancient specialty: Feeding the masses’ (Los Angeles Daily News, 21 July 2020), here.

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(Asia Samachar, x June 2020)

 

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