Dashmesh Culture Centre volunteers are here for Calgary

Our Community, Our People: Gurpartap Singh Baidwan takes out food hampers for people in need from the Dasmesh Culture Centre food bank in Calgary on June 14. Baidwan volunteer seven days a week with the centre. (Photo by Dharampreet Dhillon/The Press)

Around 100 volunteers work seven days at Dashmesh Culture Centre to help feed Calgarians who are stuck in their homes due to COVID-19.

“Sikhs are always here to help people in need, history is the witness,” said Harjit Signh Saroya, Chairman of Dashmesh Culture Centre management, speaking in Punjabi.

When COVID-19 arrived in Canada, management decided to launch programs to help people who are unable to go out for groceries or cook food. No Hungry Tummy program was one of them.

Now anyone can call or order online to get cooked food or groceries. Deliveries are available with the help of volunteer drivers.

According to volunteer Tubasam Kaur, who takes care of orders and deliveries, there are online forums that can be used to configure what someone needs, whether it’s hot food or perishable goods. People ordering food provide the number of people in their family and what kind of items they need in the hamper.

Once the information is gathered, they make the hamper. Then people can come and pick up their food or the Dashmesh Culture Centre will send out deliveries for the people who cannot leave.

The food bank, started on April 2, provides perishable food items and daily use products like shampoo and diapers for kids.

Subhumjeet Rakhra and his brother Shubraj Raghbir Singh Rakhra came up with an idea of the food bank and within a day, Dashmesh Culture Centre management provided them with a trailer to store food.

Within days, the trailer was full of donations. Now the food bank is giving out around 50 hampers daily.

Dashmesh Culture Centre is collaborating with the Salvation Army and Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids to keep feeding communities across the city.

All of these programs are funded by donations from volunteers. Anyone can donate in-person or at Dashmesh.ca.

Safety precautions are taken by the volunteers while cooking and packing food.

Sikhs are always here to help people in need, history is the witness. -Harjit Singh Saroya

“We help everyone, whoever is in need, we don’t discriminate,” said Chairman Soraya. “The word that’s been spreading through social media, we’ve been having a bigger outreach to people. And so more people are being able to contact us.”

According to Chairman Soraya, they have handed out almost 80,000 meals.

“Sikhs believe in the concept of Seva or selfless service and Dashmesh Culture Centre, through the hard work of executive committee and volunteers, have fully displayed this by stepping up during this pandemic,” said Jasraj Singh Hallan, a member of the Parliament for Calgary Forest Lawn, on June 3.