The Sikh community of Calgary and the World Sikh Organization of Canada have been reaching out to serve in the aftermath of severe flooding in the city. Thousands of Calgary residents were forced to evacuate after rising water levels shut down the city core and left many neighbourhoods flooded.
On behalf of the Calgary Sikh Community, the Dashmesh Culture Centre extended an open invitation to all flood victims, volunteers and emergency responders to come to the Gurdwara for a free vegetarian meal from 11am – 8pm seven days a week. The congregation at the Dashmesh Culture Centre also raised $12,000 for the Red Cross relief effort.
The WSO funded and organized a free meal for Canadian Forces members who have been deployed in the area. The military personnel, who had been working for many hours without a warm meal, were provided fresh pizza, chips and pop. Further meals will also be organized in the coming days for Canadian Forces members deployed in other parts of the province.
The Sikh Youth Calgary has been providing blankets and personal hygiene items to flood victims currently staying in drop-in locations. Blankets and personal hygiene kits were also delivered to the Siksika reserve, 100 kilometres east of Calgary. The reserve has been hit hard by the flood and 1000 residents have been forced from their homes. A group of Sikh youth volunteers are at the reserve today to help with the relief efforts.
Selfless service or ‘seva’ is a key teaching of the Sikh faith and is an obligation for all Sikhs in the spirit of ‘sarbat da bhalla’ or the upliftment of all.
Jasroop Singh Bains, WSO’s Calgary relief coordinator said, “as Sikhs, serving others is a part of our faith. It’s at times like this that we can reach out to those in need and make a difference. The Sikh community is privileged to be in a position to serve and we hope we are able to do our part as Calgary recovers from this disaster.”
WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “as the father of a son currently serving in the Canadian Forces, I know that I would want him to have a warm meal when he is on the ground. Providing some hot pizza and snacks is our way of showing our appreciation for the work our troops are doing. We are also very proud of the efforts of the Sikh community in Calgary who have come together to put the Sikh principle of seva into practice during this difficult time.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit international organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.