During the Black Summer bushfires and lockdowns of the COVID pandemic, the charitable giving of Australia’s Sikh communities were extolled across Australia and overseas. Now one Sikh community in regional Australia, on the New South Wales-Victorian border, is hoping to raise enough money to build a larger temple and enable them to give even more.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, in the small confines of a garage in a rented house in the northern suburbs of Albury, New South Wales, a cooking production line has formed.
Three large burners sit on the floor.
Men squatting next to them drop handfuls of chopped vegetables bound by a chickpea flour batter into sizzling pots of oil, while a row of women slap and roll balls of naan dough to be fried on a barbeque.
These are the members of the Albury-Wodonga Sikh Sangat, or congregation, preparing Langar - a free meal to worshippers and anyone else who stops by.
This Sangat began with a handful of families 15 years ago.
One of its original members, Supreet Arora, who migrated from India in 2007 says now it's bursting at the seams.
“Until 2011-12 the government opened visas for students to come to this area to get their permanent residency, so they have to live here for three years, so many people came and then the Community just blasted! I would say, just blasted.”
Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this feature in Punjabi.
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