The unprecedented global epidemic Coronavirus has put a number of people under quarantine as a protective measure. Communities, governments and people are coming together to prevent the virus from spreading further. One such initiative was by the Sikh Community in New York, who packaged more than 30,000 home-cooked meals for Americans living in self-isolation. The food packages were handed out to several distributing federal agencies in the area at the request of the Mayor of New York. These agencies will distribute and deliver free food to Covid-19 affected people.
The United States has become one of the epicentres of the Coronavirus outbreak across the globe. "Once we heard people were having a problem with food when they go shopping, they can't find food in the shopping centre, then we started reaching out to people in our personal capacity in the Bay Area(San Francisco)," Dr Pritpal Singh, coordinator of the American Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (west coast) told ANI.
The distributing agencies will provide the food packages to the elderly or people having trouble getting food at the supermarket, specially-abled, homeless and single parents who are looking after their kids and can't go out, according to Himat Singh, coordinator of American Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (east coast).
Further, strict food hygiene practices are being observed while the food was prepared, such as maintaining social distancing and using face masks and gloves.
"The 'Sewa' or service provided by the Sikh volunteers is a vegetarian meal comprising of dry fruits, rice and lentils. The meals were prepared on Sunday and was packaged and loaded for delivery. The distribution starts on Monday in the morning, by local authorities. Volunteers who prepared and packaged the meal had a medical check and have been approved by physicians and health authorities," Singh added.
For the purpose of preparing the meals, the Sikh Community is utilising food which has been donated to the Gurudwaras, as well as Gurudwara funds. United Sikhs, an NGO based across the United States, also made an appeal to people from all walks of life to donate generously. Several Sikh volunteers from the East, West Coast and the Mid West of the United States are ready with an infrastructure to help agencies across the country. They are geared with free food, shelter at Gurudwara's and even delivering essentials and medicines for the homeless and needy.
(Also Read: Over 250 Gurdwaras In Britain Serving As Food Banks)
The Sikh Community is trying to cater to the homeless and the elderly who are more vulnerable to catching the virus. Interestingly, 99 per cent of the people using the meals are Americans. The only Indians making use of the free meal initiative are those coming from overseas or students who are isolating for 14 days. The Gurudwaras have been instructed to help out distressed students who are in need of any assistance, according to Jathedar Harpreet Singh, Sri Akal Takht Sahib who is the spiritual leader of the Sikh community.
"We have requested gurudwaras across the country and the world to especially reach out to the stranded Indian students and provide them meals and shelter, which will give relief to many worried parents back in India," Jathedar Harpreet Singh told ANI. We hope the Sikh Community continues the relief measures, and collectivise towards battling the epidemic.
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