SEVA (Selfless Service)
Selfless service or Seva, in Sikhism, is a service which is performed to benefit other human beings or society without expecting any reward in return. Seva means Service & Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All. We are all made up of a community of communities. The constituents of our overarching community is what makes us individuals—a fingerprints que collaboration that unlocks growth, within us and in those we interact with. A quality of convergence is what the Corona virus outbreak has helped us foster in our communities. Sikhs – and people from all faiths – have come together and have spent their time and resources towards helping others in this time of need. Seva, the idea of helping others, is a pillar of a Sikhi that demands intrinsic motivation. From United Sikhs, to Khalsa Aid and the NESSC Food Pantry, people from all walks of life have been contributing their share for the greater good during the tough times of this global pandemic.
UNITED SIKHS is a U.N. affiliated, international non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization, aimed at empowering those in need, especially disadvantaged and minority communities across the world. As soon as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, United Sikhs stepped up with Emergency Response Teams to feed families in need from all corners of the globe. From India, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia, United States, Canada and more. In total, United Sikhs has provided over 1 million meals to those in need. One of the many above mentioned Covid – 19 Emergency relief missions that United Sikhs has undertaken is of New York, USA.
New York is widely known as the epicenter of this crisis in America. When the New York City Office of Emergency Management put out a call for help, the United Sikhs Emergency Response Team responded by preparing 30,000 free meal packets for self-isolating people. These meals were being sent out to the elderly and needy in the Five Boroughs. The concept of langar has long been a hallmark of the Sikhi spirit, and it has been essential in this Coronavirus outbreak. The United Sikhs truly brought forth their mission, which, in short, is to “transform, alleviate, educate and protect the lives of underprivileged, individuals and minority communities impacted by disasters”, doing so by taking this concept of Langar and extending it towards the community and rallying together – by the people and for the people.
The United Sikhs has stepped up with Emergency Aid Teams to feed families in need from all across the globe during this pandemic. So far, United Sikhs has fed over 1 million people in need.
Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. Khalsa Aid team is often one of the first on the scene to help distribute food, water, clothing, medical and sanitation supplies to support the victims of natural disasters or civil conflicts. It funds and builds semi-permanent shelters, if needed – anything that’s required in those early days to save lives, reduce people’s immediate suffering and help maintain their dignity.
Khalsa Aid was inspired mainly by one Sikhi ideology in particular – “Sarbat da Bhalla” meaning “well-being for all” – recognizing the humanity in us all and reaching out to those in need, regardless of race, religion, borders. Khalsa Aid is continuing to work based on this ideology during this global pandemic. As a result of this crisis, there was panic buying that has resulted in shortages in food banks of essential items. Khalsa Aid international is supporting food banks by replenishing their stocks, so that the vulnerable in our community who are unable to bulk buy can still receive some essential items specifically in the UK, Canada, Australia, India & across the globe. Many people have lost their jobs, going into isolation, and have become vulnerable. Khalsa Aid volunteers have made and delivered over 42 tons of emergency food packs to over 10,000 of these vulnerable Syrian refugees. These volunteers from Khalsa Aid have also been delivering meals to people working (all front line and essential workers) to help in this crisis. In Northwick Hospital in Harrow, England, they delivered pizzas to the staff. Khalsa Aid has been continuing to do Langar seva in communities, and have been rallying to help stop the Corona virus pandemic.
NESSC & Westborough Food Pantry
In this time of crisis, where people are struggling to meet their ends, food is one of the basic needs that everyone requires. Food pantries across the nation are helping collect food items that would be distributed to the needy. Westborough Gurdwara Sahib being an active community member joined the Westborough food pantry in collecting donations. Sangat members donated in many forms showing their selfless service in these unprecedented times.
Food Drive by Westborough Khalsa School Students
For many years now, every Sunday at the Westborough Gurdwara Sahib, Khalsa school teachers have discussed the concept of Seva, which means selfless service. One of the many ways to do this Seva is by serving Langar – free food meant for all – a practice established by Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1st Guru of Sikhs). When the Corona virus pandemic hit people lost jobs, suffered health issues, and had limited food supplies. At that time, Khalsa school kids Jaskeerat and Rajveer thought of a different way to help those in need. They and their family planned a takeaway food drive in their town Hollis, NH. On Sunday, April 4, these kids and their family organized a food drive in their town. They cooked food, put it in take out boxes and set it up on a table for free. Anyone in need or passing by was welcome to take the food. In the boxes, they put pasta, and dal chawal (lentils & rice). This food drive was a way for them to put their Khalsa school teachings in practice. This also resulted in many people becoming aware of Who Sikhs are? Many people took food from their drive and appreciated their gesture. This food drive initiative encouraged others to start food drives in their respective towns.
Since these kids couldn’t celebrate Vaisakhi in person this year, it was their version of Vaisakhi Seva. People who were unable to cook were requested to donate to their local food pantries, by these kids in their Seva message. This was a great experience for Jaskeerat and his brother Rajveer and they hope to continue to do this Seva until this Pandemic is over. They look forward to going back to their Gurdwara and sharing their experience with the Sangat