Sikh community open hearts and purses to help Fort McMurray fire victims

  • Gurpreet Singh, Hindustan Times, Vancouver
  • Updated: May 10, 2016 13:31 IST
Temple leaders with the food items before the three trucks were dispatched. (HT Photo)

Canada’s Sikh community once again came forward to help the victims of devastating fire that almost engulfed the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta.

Three truck loads of non perishable food items and grocery were flagged off to Fort McMurray from Surrey by the gurdwara leaders. The items were collected within 48 hours after an appeal was issued by community activists. The donation drive was launched by Avtar Singh of Akal Academy in partnership with various gurdwaras across Greater Vancouver. For the last two days, people could be seen delivering canned food to the Sikh temples.

Tony Singh outside his godown before three trucks were dispatched to Fort McMurray. (HT Photo)

It is believed that 90,000 people had to be evacuated from Fort McMurray after wildfire left thousands of buildings burnt. Bhupinder Gill, who lived in Fort McMurray and has now shifted to Edmonton, told HT that over 500 Indians, including Punjabis and Gujaratis, resided in the town. Gill has created a Facebbok page to help those affected.

According to Avtar Singh, the donation drive will continue until life in Fort McMurray is back to normal. Tochi Sandhu of Envision Financial, who was present when three trucks left for Fort McMurray, estimated that it might take years for the affected town to recover.

“The whole country needs to get united. I am happy that Sikhs are doing this.”

Devinder Singh Grewal of Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar said for Sikhs all human beings are one and that’s why it becomes morally important to help fellow human beings at the time of crisis. Tony Singh of Fruiticana, one of the biggest grocery chains, was the main contributor. The trucks were loaded at his godown. He thinks that these efforts might have to be continued for an indefinite period of time. Another drive is scheduled for the coming Saturday.

Others present on the occasion included prominent doctor and philanthropist Pargat Singh Bhurji, who had been to Nepal and Haiti in the past to help people affected by earthquakes.

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