With so many people struggling financially in uncertain times brought about due to the coronavirus pandemic, a free meal can certainly go a long way.
That’s exactly what members of the Sikh community are providing for hundreds of people everyday in Riverside County.
Cars were already lining up outside the Riverside Sikh temple in Jurupa Valley Monday morning, while the workers were setting up their stations.
“We strongly believe in the fact that no one should go hungry,” Gurpreet Singh, a coordinator with the United Sikh Mission, said.
About six weeks ago, members of the Sikh community began making vegetarian meals after neighboring cities like Riverside and Moreno Valley asked them for help feeding the less fortunate, Singh said.
“Because we are Americans, and as Americans, we’ve got to take care of each other,” Singh said.
What started out as 175 meals per day has now grown to 1,400 meals being handed out every day, along with free groceries on the weekends. A lot of it is coming via donations and also from members of the Sikh community.
“We are required by our faith to give 10% of our earnings and 10% of our time to community outreach activities,” Singh says.
So, they also deliver meals to local hospitals and seniors.
“They make very good food,” says John Zadeh, a Jurupa Valley resident.
He adds, “They are good people to us.”
Felipe Villasenor, another local resident, says, “This is a really great way to help other people.”
Like so many others, Villasenor is out of work right now. He has a wife and 3-year-old son, and he says these free meals aren’t just filling their bellies.
“We get to save a little bit more money during these times that we need it,” Villasenor says.
Vanesa Villasenor adds, “At least it gives a little hope to families who really need it right now.”
There is no question that hope is essential in times like these and so is a nice hot meal.
Singh adds, “Hunger has no days off, so we can’t take a day off.”