With ADF support, a Sikh charity is delivering 1500 emergency food hampers every week to homes and community groups in metropolitan Sydney during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Turbans 4 Australia President Amar Singh said the ADF members deployed to the effort just over two months ago as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.
“It’s our honour to have all these wonderful men and women from the ADF helping out," Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh was one of the founders of the charity set up 2015.
The charity first supported drought-affected farmers in central-western NSW, sending groceries and seven semi-trailer loads of hay to Coonamble.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity’s focus shifted to food relief in the worst-affected parts of Sydney.
ADF members helped pack hampers with food, personal care products and books and toys.
“It’s a boost to our morale and the community to see the ADF getting in here and doing the hard work,” Mr Singh said.
“They are a great bunch of people. We have a good laugh, and we get in there and get the job done.”
Sikhs value selfless service and have a strong warrior tradition.
Mr Singh marches each Anzac Day to honour his grandfather, who served in India’s esteemed Sikh Regiment from the mid-1960s.
“Our [the charity’s] two vans have an image of a Sikh soldier from back in the day,” Mr Singh said.
Air Force Flying Officer Ryan Elliott said it was rewarding to support Turbans 4 Australia.
“This organisation stood up and is helping the community in its time of need,” he said.
“We have been able to support them with personnel and technical expertise.
“They have been really supportive of the ADF, and the ADF has supported them in return.”
The ADF warehouse helpers enjoy learning more about the Sikh community and culture, including its food.
“They put on a lovely lunch spread for us every time we come out and help,” Flying Officer Elliott said.
The ADF team has developed a taste for Jalebis, a deep-fried sweet snack popular in the Indian subcontinent, West Asia and North Africa.