Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Sikh community has made and distributed over 2,100 food packages in just seven weeks in Silver Spring, in the Washington DC metro area. A group of around 25 volunteers of the Guru Nanak Foundation of America Gurudwara has turned the 'Langar Sewa' - the traditional tenant of Sikhism - into a drive-thru food distribution zone in the area.
Every Sunday morning, over 300 families line-up in their cars to receive donated food items like fresh produce and packaged food. Even though the distribution does not open till 11 am, people from all faiths and religions come to the drive-through as early as 9:30 am.
"That smile on the face I think that says it all and I think, more than them, it is us that are grateful that we have been able to carry out this food drive," Ginny Ahluwalia, Representative of the Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee of the Guru Nanak Foundation of America told ANI.
The team follows a highly systematised process for food packaging and distribution. On Saturday, a team of volunteers assemble a room full of crackers, cookies, cakes, food cans and fresh fruits. These are then distributed the next day. When a car pulls up at the Sikh temple's driveway, a volunteer place's food items that can last a week in the car trunk.
"When you come here to get something, it is not like anything below your dignity, but it is looking forward to something that you can appreciate," said one of the people who lined up for the food package.
Through large social media groups of local residents, the team shares information about the distribution.
"People have been donating. So, whoever can volunteer is giving their time. Whoever cannot give their time is giving money," Ginny said.