More than two dozen volunteers from Sydney’s Sikh community have travelled to the NSW South Coast to help those affected by the bushfires. Turbans 4 Australia transported two semi-trailer loads of water, in addition to groceries, toiletries and nearly $5,000 worth of tools to help farmers fix their fences. Some of the volunteers continued down the South Coast to give supplies to fire-ravaged communities.
Turbans 4 Australia donated 1.5 tonnes worth of food to people who were struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteer and truck driver Amar Singh told Daily Mail Australia his organisation already spent about $4,000 on groceries bound for the elderly, disabled and people stuck in self isolation. In addition to working full time, the group have dedicated more than 25 hours in the past week to creating 160 hampers full of noodles, tuna, tinned vegetables, nutella and juice for people throughout Sydney.
It’s an ethos that saw Amar and a convoy of volunteers head into ground zero of last summer’s fire season, to cook and feed the fire after their return from the frontline. With a dozen or so other volunteers cutting, mixing, and stirring a vast pot mild lentil curry as rice boiled alongside, Amar had heard many charities feeding the poor, had been struggling to get supplies, hence Turbans 4 Australia extended the help to needy.
At a time when we’re more isolated than ever, a Sikh community group is coming together to help serve those housebound by COVID-19. Turbans 4 Australia is made up of volunteers who deliver hot meals and hampers of essentials across Canberra.
Paramdeep Singh Nrain is a coordinator for the group and came up with the idea after they offered similar support to people affected by this summer’s bushfires. He started preparing meals from home, but with skyrocketing demand had to enlist the help of a local restaurant owner to upscale the operation.
Turbans 4 Australia has delivered 50-odd hampers of free vegetarian meals (lentil curries and rice) and groceries (non-perishable staples like jam, coffee, sugar, noodles, and soup) to disabled, elderly, and isolated households and international students in Queanbeyan and Canberra.
Turbans 4 Australia has stepped up crisis relief efforts in recent weeks. Volunteers are making more than 40 hot vegetarian meals a day in their own kitchens for people who are living alone across Sydney – from Penrith to Campbelltown to the city. They’re creating food hampers for needy people and the elderly.
The elderly isolated from family, the disabled, single parents with vulnerable children who can’t go out to shop, international students who have lost their casual jobs – these are all people across Canberra and the surrounding region being fed and, in some cases, literally being kept alive, by Turbans 4 Australia. 80 to 100 meals were being delivered daily during the coronavirus shutdown, prepared in the kitchen of Florey restaurant Indian Pantry.
Each weekend since the coronavirus pandemic put more than a million people out of work, Amar Singh and five other volunteers from western Sydney’s Indian community meet in local halls to pack grocery hampers. It’s a community effort to support those left vulnerable by the economic downturn. Most recipients have been international students, without jobs or access to JobSeeker.
International students and other temporary visa holders locked out of federal government support are relying on food banks and restaurants giving away free meals to survive during the coronavirus pandemic. 700 international students had contacted Turbans 4 Australia to ask for help with groceries and other expenses.
Amar Singh from Turbans 4 Australia said “Many are international students who have recently just landed in the country. They are in a new country, no friends, or family. However, they have to survive independently The least we can do is provide them help for food.”
In collaboration with the University of Wollongong, Turbans 4 Australia organised a food donation drive in Strathfield, Sydney for international students. An array of groceries like lentils, rice, pasta, canned beans, jam, long-life milk and toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, washing powder and napkins were placed in a semi-circle. Students had the choice to take the item that suited their needs. This donation drive has been a relief for international students. Social distancing measures were strictly practiced during this drive to ensure the risk of Covid19 is eliminated.