The Supreme Sikh Society has raised $25,000 for victims of
Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke’s Bay.
Amid devastation in the region, gurdwara – Sikh community centres and prayer halls – were also wrecked by the severe weather and flooding.
But community members have dug deep, raising $25,000 for victims. Society president Daljit Singh expects the
fundraiser will reach $100,000 before the end of the week.
Singh said demand for hot meals and food parcels remains high in both Auckland and Hawke’s Bay.
The stone fruit growers who donated fruit to the Sikh group to distribute during Covid-19 have been devastated by the floods, he said, and now is the time to give back.
“Their harvest was almost ready to pick when it happened. One has five tractors, all gone,” he said.
need more than food. They’re asking for clothes, mattresses, blankets and first aid kits.”
The New Zealand Sikh Society Hastings and Sri Guru Ravidas Hastings responded immediately to flood hit residents.
As the cyclone hit, Sikh community members in a 10,000 member group chat heard the call for funds and immediately responded.
In just a day they collected $13,000. By the end of the weekend that number more than doubled.
The $25,000 will be given to the community to distribute as it sees fit, Singh said.
But the fundraising is not over, and Singh expects to reach $100,000 by the end of the week.
Hot food, mattresses, blankets and first aid are among the essentials the Sikh community packed into a truck from Auckland this week.
“We need huge support from the community here in Auckland so we’ll have another big appeal this week,” he said.
People give what they can – from as little as $5, he said.
It’s a Sikh principle to save 10% of your income for charity, so many already have savings to offer in times of need.
“We did $71,000 when the
mosque shooting happened, and $45,000 when the earthquake happened in Christchurch,” he shared.
The Hastings Sikh societies have delivered hot meals to first responders in Hawke’s Bay.
Meanwhile, the community has continued raising money for overseas crises too: over $25,000 was raised for the victims of the
Turkey and Syria earthquake, and sent away the day before fundraising began for the Cyclone Gabrielle response.
The New Zealand Sikh community has teamed up with Khalsa Aid, an international Sikh humanitarian aid group.
Its Australian branch is sending three people to Aotearoa to help.
With Civil Defence expecting yet more people to be
found dead in the wake of the cyclone, the gurdwara are preparing to help further, he said.
Meanwhile emergency responders and the Civil Defence are pleading with New Zealanders to send
money and not supplies
to flood-struck parts of the country.
“We want people donations to be impactful. We are asking people to donate directly to relief funds instead of goods,” Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management head Todd Velvin said.
“Monetary donations are the most useful as it means organisations can provide what is really needed to those affected.”