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Richmond South Asian community helps B.C. flood victims

Members from the local Sikh community will collaborate with volunteers from Surrey this week to collect and donate items to help those in need.

Richmond’s South Asian community is banding together to help out those who have been forced out of their homes due to the floods and landslides that devastated much of the Fraser Valley last week. 

Balwant Sanghera, president of the Indian Culture Centre, said members from the local Sikh community will collaborate with volunteers from Surrey this week to collect and donate non-perishable items to help those affected by the flooding. 

Sanghera said it’s heartbreaking to hear that thousands of people are stranded by the floods and some grocery stores in affected areas are running low on certain items. 

“We are all ready to help in any way we can,” said Sanghera. 

Several days ago, the local Sikh community celebrated the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion and an important symbol of peace and social justice, noted Sanghera. 

“One of the messages from Guru Nanak is that we are all one. We are all connected and related to each other,” he explained. 

Volunteer Pritpal Singh Sekhon has been working from 7 a.m. until midnight, coordinating donations from temples across the province and getting them to the affected areas as quickly as possible.

“We don’t belong to any organization. However, local volunteers from the Sikh community have set up a temporary ‘food bank’ after hearing the devastating news,” said Sekhon. 

He receives phone calls every minute from people asking how to donate food to people in need and what kind of donations are required. 

“I need to be clear that we don’t receive money. All we need are toiletries, baby food, non-perishable goods, medicine, pasta and emergency supplies,” said Sekhon. 

When the weather allows, volunteer pilots will fly from Langley Airport to deliver thousands of pounds of supplies to affected communities. 

Sekhon added this initiative won’t be a one-off thing; they are planning to do it for several months as long as there is a need.

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