Caring for Our Community

Whitehorse News - May 2020

Whitehorse community members and organisations are showing resilience, kindness and innovation as they help others amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

When a Sikh temple in Blackburn began preparing free, fresh, homemade meals to community members in need, 50 take-away meals were gratefully received. A week later that number had grown to 250 meals prepared and given away at the Sri Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha Temple. 
Temple chairman Anterpreet Arneja said it is a Sikh religious tradition to open temple doors to all who want to come and eat there, with the temple usually offering three meals a day. 

But with government restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, the temple has been shut and temple volunteers have found other ways to provide those in need with a meal. 

“We are open seven days a week at the moment from 5pm until 7pm for those in need to come and receive a packaged vegetarian meal to take home,” Mr Arneja said. “While the temple is closed, people in need can also call for any other help they need or to get a pack of raw materials if they want to cook their own meals.”

“There is a real need for this support, with the virus affecting the community. We have found the meals have been taken up by international students, people who have lost their jobs and those who are really lonely, by people who can’t cook as well as people who need ingredients to do their own cooking.”

With the annual religious festival of Vaisakhi occurring in April, the Sikh community were not able to celebrate in their usual way and instead celebrated together virtually, watching a live stream from home of the celebration from Gurdwara (temple) Blackburn. The festival commemorates the formation of the Khalsa Panth of warriors under the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh in 1699, and marks the beginning of the Solar New Year and the Spring Harvest in the northern hemisphere. Celebrating at home with their families is just another way that this community has adapted to the virus and how it affects our conduct.

Students, healthcare and essential services workers, senior citizens and anyone else in need can turn up at Gurdwara Blackburn to receive a take-away meal pack between 5pm-7pm every day, or phone the temple on 0430 595 189 to request a pack of raw ingredients or other help. 
The temple is located at 127 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn.