Sunday, 04 September 2005
20th Bhaadon (Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)
UNITED SIKHS will be providing langgar, hotmeals from the Sikh community kitchen, to displaced people at the Katrina hurricane evacuee centers in New Orleans from tomorrow. UNITED SIKHS has also written to the US president for assistance to airlift the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh scriptures) from the submerged Gurdwara Sahib (Sikh place of worship) in New Orleans.
"The New Orleans Gurdwara Sahib is submerged under flood waters and we have not been allowed access to it," said Sumir Kaur, president of the said Gurdwara, who is co-ordinating the relief efforts with UNITED SIKHS from her home in Baton Rouge, which has been turned into the UNITED SIKHS base camp.
"We have appealed to President Bush and our local congressman, Bobby Jindal, to help us remove the Sikh Scriptures from the Gurdwara," she added. Click on the following link to read UNITED SIKHS' letter to the US president.
UNITED SIKHS' Letter to the US President (doc: 50.5 KB)
Whilst food has finally started to arrive for evacuees, on UNITED SIKHS' team's visit to the centres yesterday, "We found a demand for hot meals, which we believe will lift the hunger and spirit of the evacuees," said Gurvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS director who brought yesterday a truck full of supplies from Houston to the UNITED SIKHS base camp in Baton Rouge. The tradition of langgar, started some 500 years ago by the Sikh Gurus as a free Sikh community kitchen which feeds all regardless of status, not only feeds the hungry but serves as a means to foster a community spirit.
"We also hope to distribute langgar at the evacuee centres in Houston from next week. We have been informed that it will be some time before the evacuees in the centres can be moved to proper homes where they could cook their own meals. Therefore we will supply daily langgar for at least two weeks and, if necessary, longer," he added.
During the visit to the evacuee centres in New Orleans, the UNITED SIKHS volunteer team was requested to supply blankets, sheets, pillows and towels for 6,000 evacuees. Sikhs who own trucks have offered to transport the supplies from Houston which cannot be bought locally.
"We call upon the public, especially the Sikh sangat congregating at Gurdwaras today, to start a donation drive and to send us the funds so that we may buy and transport the supplies from Houston," Gurvinder Singh said. For details on how to donate go to www.unitedsikhs.org/donate.
"We need to raise some $100,000 this weekend to meet the cost of langgar and other supplies. This is our opportunity to help fellow Americans," he added.
The UNITED SIKHS volunteer team comprising members from Texas, New Jersey, New York and Kansas joined other members of the team at the base camp in Baton Rouge yesterday. More volunteers from California and Malaysia are expected to join the team in the near future.
"The Unitarian Church has generously agreed for us to use their kitchen facilities for us to prepare the hot meals. The sevadars form UNITED SIKHS and the local community will prepare the langgar," said Sumir Kaur.
Tel: 1 404 5508356
To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.
UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.
Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.