Wellington: Weeks after cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand leaving at least 11 dead and displacing thousands, the Sikh community has cooked and delivered more than 7,000 meals so far to those in need.
When Gabrielle hit the island’s northern region on February 12, and power went out, the Sikh community in Hastings swung into action knowing there were going to be a lot of people without food.
“My first thought was that people need food so why not cook in large quantities,” Sukhdeep Singh, a volunteer, told NZ Herald.
He then made his way to the Eastbourne St gurdwara in Hastings, where he cooked meals along with a team of young volunteers and priests. The team cooked and delivered more than 600 meals that day.
“Our main focus was delivering to the evacuation centres for the first three to fours days, then we started the rest of Hawkes bay,” he told NZ Herald.
For the next three days, the community worked on identifying the locations to distribute warm meals free of cost to people affected.
Sukhdeep Singh and his team spent a lot of time coordinating with Civil Defence centres to help with supplies like rice, lentils and food containers.
The Hastings temple along with Havelock’s Guru Ravidass temple managed to bring out 1,000 meals combined every day in order to meet high demand for food.
“Both temples are doing a service to the community during these challenging times. We are blessed and grateful to get an opportunity to serve our communities,” Sukhdeep Singh told Herald.
Thousands of people have been displaced due to the calamity, the level of which New Zealand has not seen since the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, according to authorities.