Project Vandna: COVID-19 Emergency Sikh Food Pantry
2020 is a year of living in unprecedented times. Our lifestyle has suddenly changed in drastic manners. Actions that were once considered harmless and integral parts of our lifestyle have now become threatening to our wellbeing and that of our community.
Simple behaviors like hugging a loved one, going out for food, and community gatherings being limited have caused for limitations and adjustments in our day to day lifestyle. Even simple tasks such as grocery shopping pose a risk to our health, and strike fear in many with all the unknowns that have come into play with this COVID-19 Pandemic.
While we can’t solve all of these issues, we’re helping in the small way that we know how. The Bay Area Sikh community has risen to the occasion by setting up Community Food Pantries throughout the Bay Area. The Sikh community has a deep belief in service to others, sharing with those in need, and being the defenders of social justice. We remind ourselves of this duty in our prayers every day:
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ ॥ ਤੇਰੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ ॥
“Nanak asks for ‘Naam’ (name of God) with which comes well being, happiness and positive spirit and with your blessings, Lord may everyone in the world prosper and be in peace“
Project Vandna gets its name from a core value of the Sikh faith,
ਵੰਡ ਕੇ ਛਕਨਾ
vandd ke chhakna
This value literally translates to “distribute before eating” – meaning that we should share what we each have (whether it be a little bit or a lot), especially with those who are less fortunate. It stresses upon a community’s duty unto itself, to make sure that all members are taken care of by one another when in need.
In embodying these core values, YSG Collective partnered with several other organizations to provide emergency food pantries in the South and East Bay Area of California. Together, we have supported over 3,000+ grocery requests between Santa Clara and Alameda Counties thus far to those in need in this crisis.
We are thankful for the countless individuals who have mobilized to bring this service to our community, and hope that this Seva has helped ease some of the stresses that have come with these challenging times.