Sikhs feed stranded drivers, collect money for B.C. flood aid

The Sikh community has rallied to the aid of truck drivers stuck in B.C. after flooding took out roads and bridges in the province. They are also offering help to others affected by the disaster.

Dalbir Singh Gill, president of Kamloops Gurudwara Sahib Society, in Kamloops, B.C., said his organization helped around 400 truckers in the area.

Volunteers prepare meals at the Kamloops Gurudwara Sahib Society in Kamloops, B.C. (Kamloops Gurudwara Sahib Society)

He said, “Some of the truckers who were stuck on the roads due to flooding, they are starting to move now. The situation is still not that good, but it is improving.”

Some drivers were stranded in groups of 30, 40 or 50. “We did whatever we could. We cooked food in the gurudwara and delivered it to wherever they were stuck. Whatever they needed, we supplied it,” Gill said.  

Some drivers came to the gurudwara and picked up the food for the groups as well. Gill said the entire Sikh community in the area volunteered to help.

Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver prepared a large quantity of meals a couple of days ago. The food and supplies were transported by helicopter to communities hit by the flooding.

Indy Panchi, a volunteer says the charity has more than 400 volunteers, not just of the Sikh faith, but from all backgrounds.

The helicopter was arranged by some individuals and volunteers with vehicles distributed the food and supplies to the affected communities.

“We follow the principals of Guru Nanak – ‘love all, feed all’,” he said. “Our goal is to feed those in need, including truck drivers and those stranded due to the flooding.”

Volunteers packing food.
Volunteers pack meals for the needy at Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen)

The charity has a lot of skilled cooks and vehicles. “There is nobody on the payroll, they are all volunteers,” Panchi said. “Due to the generosity of the community, we’ve got a lot of food donations. We are able to cook 800-900 meals within two hours.”

Across the country, the Ontario Sikhs and Gurudwara Council met Thursday night and decided to collect donations. The funds will be sent to organizations that are active in B.C., like Khalsa Aid and Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen.

Representatives of the gurudwaras were at the meeting, said Inderjit Singh Jagraon.

“Today (Friday), is Guru Nanak’s birthday and a lot of people are going to come to the gurudwaras,” he said. “It will be announced from the stages about the collection. We will also seek donations on Saturday and Sunday.”

Jagraon, president of the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario, said bikers are also helping collect donations for those impacted by the floods over the weekend.

Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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  • Very nice of them but this should the job of the B C T A and the trucking companies. Nonprofit groups have had to take over the role of bringing back sick truck drivers from the U S to Canada far too often.

  • In addition to Stephen’s comment, kudos to the Sikhs for doing this fantastic job and shame to the government for responding in ‘deed’ very late or not at all!

  • This is a tremendous humanitarian help for the drivers caught on the terrible terrain on the roadsides in beautiful BC.Most recently a friend of mine on the East Coast who described to me all his miles passed away.Some day maybe the Verey fund will be established as well as smoking less awareness.