Sunday, April 20, 2014

Utah Sikhs bring warmth to homeless with blanket donation

By Carole Mikita, Deseret News

Published: Thu, Dec. 19 9:21 p.m. MST

 Temple trustee Pushpinder Walia, left, hands a blanket to Emily Petersen, right, with The Road Home, while temple trustee Jagdish Gill, center, looks on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Members of the Sikh Temple collected enough money to buy 200 blankets for the homeless.

Temple trustee Pushpinder Walia, left, hands a blanket to Emily Petersen, right, with The Road Home, while temple trustee Jagdish Gill, center, looks on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. Members of the Sikh Temple collected enough money to buy 200 blankets for the homeless.

(Steve Landeen, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Road Home has 200 new blankets for the homeless thanks to an interfaith gesture from members of the Sikh Temple.

On Sunday, the congregation collected enough money to buy 200 blankets for the homeless, and members took the donations to the Road Home Wednesday.

During a short service, Priest Gurmeet Singh read from the holy text that tells Sikhs if they remember God every day, he will take them as his children and their lives with be happier. During their Wednesday worship, they hoped to bring happiness to others.

"We always want to participate in our community, whatever little help we can do for food also and these blankets," said temple trustee Pushpinder Walia. "We thought we should contribute before Christmas."

The Sikhs simply wanted to be part of the community and to let everyone know they are here to help.

"It's too cold, and God has blessed us," Walia said, "and we want to share with other people."

"The winter season can be a dangerous time for a lot of our clients, and unfortunately we see a lot of people struggle through that," said Road Home employee Emily Petersen. "I know this will be a lifesaving support for them. Thank you."

Sikhism is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world with more than 30 million members, the majority of whom live in the Punjab region of India.

Founded in the 15th century as a monotheistic faith, members reject discrimination against race, religion or gender.

Baptized Sikhs do not cut their hair, and the men wear turbans. They do not consume alcohol, tobacco or drugs. They believe strongly in marriage and family life.

At the sanctuary inside the Sikh Temple, men, women and children are asked to remove their shoes and cover their heads. During this particularly sacred time of year for Christians who commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Sikhs say they also wish to mark the birth.

"We respect all religions, and Christ has been a great prophet, and Christmas is a blessing time," said temple trustee Jagdish Gill.

There are nearly 1,000 Sikhs in Utah. Services at the Sikh Temple of Utah on 4897 S. Redwood Road take place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, including both breakfast and lunch. All are welcome to attend.

Email: cmikita@deseretnews.com

Recommended
1. ThornBirds
St.George, Utah,
Dec. 19, 2013

Great to know this is a city with such diversity and kindness.

2. windsor
City, Ut,
Dec. 20, 2013

@ThornBirds. Amen!

To the Utah Sikhs who may read this:
Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your kind words about wanting to help and your kind gesture and words in doing it at this time of year- to honor the celebration of Christ and Christmastime. I think your example and attitude is most refreshing and welcome. So glad you have chosen to live here in Utah.