Melbourne-based Sikh Volunteers Australia (SVA) played a crucial role in providing free meals to vulnerable people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic last year. SBS Punjabi caught up with Jaswinder Singh, a member of SVA, who recently featured in Crown Melbourne’s Lunar Year art series for his service to the community during a crisis.
With eyes brimming with pride, Mr Singh told SBS Punjabi how the charity group organised efforts to provide food assistance to people in the middle of a pandemic -"no questions asked."
He said he felt overwhelmed when Melbourne's iconic fire tower on the Yarra River was adorned with his full-size picture as part of Crown Melbourne's Lunar New Year art series, 'Portraits of Strength' last month.
Mr Singh was featured in the special series for his 'loyalty and commitment' to his community in 2020.
"I felt very proud to see my story presented on a big mural outside the Crown Casino in Melbourne. I am honoured to be part of this project that also gave me an opportunity to display the Sikh identity on such a huge platform," he said in an interview with SBS Punjabi.
A valued member of Sikh Volunteers Australia, Mr Singh played an instrumental role during the height of Victoria's pandemic, delivering food to more than 3,000 residents living within the public housing towers that were put into mandatory lockdown.
Talking about the group's extraordinary efforts, Mr Singh said that they started with a single van distributing free meals to the homeless, a step which gradually evolved into a powerful act of kindness during one of the city's most challenging periods.
Mr Singh and the volunteer group made it their mission to ensure those facing hardship within public housing were supplied fresh and nutritious produce daily.
"We feel proud that we were part of this initiative. We were aware that these estates provide housing to many vulnerable residents in Melbourne. So, we felt that it was our duty to serve them when they needed us the most," he said.
"Our volunteers have always been passionate about 'Nishkam Sewa' which essentially means selfless service to humanity without the need for recognition or honour.
"It is important that we consider the human race as one. No matter what the challenges are, we need to serve, rise and celebrate our diversity," he added.
Click on the audio button to listen to the full conversation with Mr Singh
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