Since April 11, the Khalsa Care Foundation has distributed more than 200,000 hot meals at no cost to low-income people, those with disabilities, and to homeless shelters. Courtesy of Khalsa Care Foundation.
At the end of August, the U.S. recorded approximately six million COVID-19 cases and more than 180,000 deaths; by mid-September, that number climbed to 192,000. From this number, sadly, Los Angeles County accounts for almost 240,000 cases and more than 5700 deaths, the most of any county in California.
This outbreak has uprooted the lives of many people who were already struggling to make ends meet, but some community organizations have stepped up to meet the challenge and help their neighbors.
Pacoimaâ€™s Khalsa Care Foundation, a Sikh Gurudwara (the Sikh name for the equivalent of a church or temple), has had a long tradition of practicing its religionâ€™s core teaching of assisting people in need and, in the midst of the COVID-19 upheaval, their food pantry and Hot Meal program has provided food and groceries to some of the neediest families throughout Los Angeles.
Gurudwara, which translates as â€śdoorway to the Guruâ€ť in Punjabi, is the Sikh house of prayer. Along with worship, Gurudwaras are places of â€śSevaâ€ť or selfless service. Specifically, this means giving to the community and expecting nothing in return. This can involve volunteering within the Gurudwara or assisting the greater community in times of need. Langar, or community kitchen, is one of the most important forms of â€śSeva.â€ť As part of this tradition, a free Indian vegetarian meal is served by Gurudwara volunteers to all visitors, regardless of their economic status, religion or ethnicity. During the pandemic, the concepts of Seva and Langar have become the basis of the Sikh communityâ€™s support to the needy throughout Los Angeles.
According to Jaspreet Sethi, a leading member of the Khalsa Care Foundation, â€śthe fundamental belief of all Sikhs is that we are here to make the world a better place. You have to start with the local community which is Los Angeles. Our thinking is, this is where our kids will grow up. We want to make it a better place, so our kids will grow up in a better environment and community.â€ť