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India’s Coronavirus Warriors

Langar Sewa At The Doorstep? The Sikh Community Shows The Way As It Provides Food To COVID-19 Patients At Home

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is providing cooked meals to 4,000 COVID-19 patients quarantined at home

Langar Sewa At The Doorstep? The Sikh Community Shows The Way As It Provides Food To COVID-19 Patients At Home
  • The food is hygienically prepared, packed and delivered to the doorstep
  • 300 volunteers are involved in the process of home delivery of cooked food
  • Local Gurdwaras too assist DSGMC in food delivery in their respective areas

New Delhi: “Since childhood, we have been taught to serve humanity even at the cost of our lives. Be it any kind of tragedy –natural disasters or the Coronavirus pandemic, we have always served the people with love and will continue to do so. If it’s destined for me to contract the COVID-19 disease and die because of it, I’ll, but I cannot let the fear come in my way of helping people during a crisis”, said Avtar Singh Verka, Manager at the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) while talking to NDTV. Mr Verka is one of the 300 volunteers delivering cooked meals to COVID-19 patients at home in Delhi.

Also Read: As COVID Cases In India Sets World Record, Centre Recommends “Proning”. Here’s All You Need To Know

DSGMC has taken langar or community kitchen beyond the four walls of Gurdwara to ensure no one goes hungry for whatever reason. The concept of Langar is to serve meals to all, regardless of caste, class, religion, gender, social or economic status or political consideration – especially at a time when it is most critical.

Also Read: COVID Warriors: From Providing Medical Equipment To Hospitals To Feeding The Hungry, This NGO Is Doing It All

This week, as soon as the lockdown was announced in Delhi, I started getting distress calls from all parts of Delhi. An uncle called me and started crying. He said, ‘all four of us – I, my wife, brother and sister-in-law have tested positive for COVID-19. Our kids live far away and there is no one to help us with cooked food or even deliver ration at our doorstep.’ He sounded helpless and so did others who reached out to us and it is then we decided to help COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment at home, recalled Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of the DSGMC while talking to NDTV.

On Monday (April 19), Mr Sirsa released a video on social media informing that starting tomorrow, DGSMC will home-deliver food to families who have tested COVID-19 positive and are unable to cook or arrange food for themselves. Mr Sirsa informed that food is prepared hygienically and is packed in plastic containers and then home-delivered to patients. DSGMC along with local Gurdwaras is providing two meals a day to 4,000 COVID-19 patients daily.

Also Read: How Indira Didi, An Anganwadi Worker Is Braving All Odds Amid Coronavirus To Keep Her Village Healthy

We often get calls from local Gurdwaras as well. For instance, the other day a Gurdwara from West Delhi requested 150 food packets saying they will deliver in their area. Similarly, a Gurdwara in Lal Quarter, Punjabi Bagh had requested 50 food packets, said Mr Sirsa.

To ensure the safety of volunteers during food distribution, DSGMC provides personal protective equipment (PPE) kit, sanitiser and other essentials. Talking about the fear of contracting the disease while working on the ground, Avtar Singh Verka said,

Somebody has to come forward. When on the ground, we ensure hygiene at all times. In the evening, before going back home, we take off our PPE and clothes outside the home, sanitise our belongings and then only meet our family.

Also Read: Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna Turns Hero To Masses, Provides Over 40 Million Meals To The Poor During COVID-19 Pandemic

Showing his gratitude to DSGMC for the noble service, Ankit Shah, a resident of Lajpat Nagar in Delhi told NDTV,

I, my wife and son are COVID-19 positive and the weakness because of the disease has made cooking a herculean task for us. I saw a post on social media stating that these people are providing cooked food, I dropped a message on the number given and within an hour they delivered food for the three of us. For the last two to three days, we are ordering both lunch and dinner from them. They are doing a great service for free.

When asked till when DSGMC will continue the sewa, Mr Sirsa said there is no limit to it. If the demand rises to even 5 lakh food packets a day, they will supply.

Even during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, we served 1.75 lakh people everyday. It’s only three months ago when we stopped our service but now we are back on the ground. The service can be availed by either contacting any of the Gurdwaras in Delhi or elected members of DSGMC or our helpline numbers, he added.

Also Read: The Sikh Community Keeps Doing What It Does Right, Serves The People Selflessly Even During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Apart from this, DSGMC has restarted ‘langar on wheels’. As part of the initiative, trucks with food from Gurdwaras in Delhi go to different locations and provide meals to thousands of people for free. The food truck parks itself at a particular location and people queue up to get a meal. This way, DSGMC is serving 25,000 people living in clusters, Jhuggis, and other parts of Delhi.

In Sikhism, the sewa is taught from an early age and the sewa of Sikhs during the Coronavirus pandemic is a shining example of their community spirit.

Also Read: Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Starts Free Ambulance Service For COVID-19 Patients

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


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