NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield Sikh community supports homeless center

Posted at 5:18 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 21:25:27-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As the homeless population continues to grow in our community, the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association is working to give back to those in need.

They’re hosting a blanket drive-in benefit of the Bakersfield Homeless Association this Sunday.

While sometimes we may take the warmth of a jacket or a blanket for granted, there are many people in our community who are struggling to have the basic necessities of food and shelter.

Raji Brar, with the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, said knowing that has prompted this partnership with the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter.

“Hard times are not that far off most folks think. Sometimes it is just a paycheck away, sometimes it is a family emergency away, a health crisis away,” Brar said.

Cindy Lyday, External Affairs Manager of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, explained, “There are a lot of phone calls that we receive daily, women looking for shelter and that has increased and it could be that the weather is changing and people are looking for more secure shelter.”

That is also why this is not the first time the Brar’s organization has partnered with the homeless center.

Sometimes they take the kids who live in these shelters to the movies or donate toys in the winter. Brar adds this service lifestyle comes from her Sikh culture: “In Sikh, one of the major tenets is “seva” which means service. And all of us were just raised always by our family, like seva, what are you going to do for your community.”

With that in mind she called the shelter to see what they most needed right now. The answer? Blankets.

“Wintertime, our winter needs always include blankets. We not only help the women and children who stay at the Bakersfield Homeless Center, but we also help the community. So that is anybody that is in need that happens to walk up to our warehouse that needs clothing, food, or something warm and so these blankets are going to home in really handy for that,” said Lyday.

The blanket drive will be hosted here at the Sikh temple where they will be having a festival celebrating the pillars of the Sikh faith. You can come out, donate a blanket, and meet your Sikh neighbors over a traditional Indian dish.