PACOIMA, Calif. — More than 500 low-income families here received help this season at a Holiday Community Food Drive hosted by Khalsa Care Foundation (KCF), which provides community services for children, youth and adults, and sustains the social vitality and cultural vibrancy of the Sikh American heritage.
A recent study by The Center for Southern California Studies at California State University, Northridge, showed that the proportion of families living at or below the poverty level remains extremely high in the Northeast San Fernando Valley with Pacoima exceeding countywide averages. According to Gurdeep Malik of KCF, around 1700 people attended the event which took place at the Sikh gurdwara here. Representatives from the offices of Congressman Tony Cardenas, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Councilman Felipe Fuentes, Senator Robert Hertzberg, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez and LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff were also present. All those who came were treated to a warm vegetarian meal, giveaways, games and a raffle.
Malik said organizers and volunteers distributed 1000 bags of food, toiletries and amenities, clothes, toys and more to the 500 families gathered there. He added that preparation for the event started a month in advance and the giveaway items were bagged a week before. Families were given a bag of groceries containing canned food, pasta, rice, beans and a bag of clothes with items such as blankets, gloves, beanies and sweat shirts. In addition, there was a raffle of four Target gift cards worth $50 each and toys for several families. Children also enjoyed carnival games, prizes, pasta, pizza, ice cream and cotton candy and free henna and nail polish. In the past, the Sikh American community has provided food and needed items to the Fred Jordan Mission on Skid Row, but in recent years it has looked to support local families and neighbors in Pacoima through a holiday community event at its gurdwara as part of “seva,” selfless service to others.