Dashmesh Culture Center volunteers delivered food to stranded truckers

Gill said some truckers had heard about the food program the cultural center has run since the start of the pandemic and reached out

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While Canadian truckers were stuck at the Coutts-Sweet Grass port of entry this week, the Calgary Dashmesh Culture Center sent two volunteers across the border to Montana to provide them with hot meals.

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When the border crossing was closed on Saturday due to the blockade of protesters, a line of truckers waiting to return to Canada found themselves blocked with no delay as to when they could cross. Truckers were advised to go to other entry points, but nearby crossings do not allow commercial vehicles, and a detour would have been long and costly.

Sweet Grass is on the US side of the border, but that didn’t stop volunteers from delivering food to them on Tuesday.

“The volunteers went with 200 meals to cross the border at the Del Bonita border post and went to Sweet Grass where the truckers were stuck,” said Amanpreet Gill, president of the Dashmesh Culture Center.

“There was a problem where some of the drivers could use other entry points, and there were others who, due to their goods and customs documents, were not allowed to use another port of entry to enter Canada.

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Dashmesh Culture Center volunteer Pawandeep Singh delivers meals to truckers stranded at the border in Sweet Grass, Montana, Feb. 1, 2022. Photo by Dashmesh Cultural Center.

A group of fully vaccinated Canadian truckers posted a video online Sunday night expressing their concerns about being stuck at the border with no extra resources or food.

Gill said some truckers had heard about the food program the cultural center has run since the pandemic began and have reached out. The No Hungry Tummy initiative was launched by the Calgary Sikh community in 2020 to provide food for families in need after the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta led to a wave of layoffs, unemployment and unemployment spells. ‘isolation.

“They found the phone number online and called me at our cultural center in the northeast. I got six or seven phone calls in a few hours,” Gill said Thursday.

“They were asking us for help.”

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Volunteer Parmeet Singh said it was important to support frontline workers who continued to drive when so many people were able to stay safe at home during the pandemic.

“They sacrificed a lot for us,” Singh said. “Our trucking brothers and sisters were still providing us with food at that time. It is our fundamental duty to help them.

Dashmesh Culture Center volunteer Parmeet Singh delivers meals to truckers stranded at the border in Sweet Grass, Montana, Feb. 1, 2022.
Dashmesh Culture Center volunteer Parmeet Singh delivers meals to truckers stranded at the border in Sweet Grass, Montana, Feb. 1, 2022. Photo by Dashmesh Cultural Center.

Volunteers distributed hot meals, water bottles and juice boxes. Gill said he gave food to truckers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia

“They were grateful and happy to receive the meal. We were happy we were able to help them,” Gill said. “If someone is looking for food, we think it’s our job to help.”

Alberta Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney said on Twitter that all online video truckers are now safe at home. The border post was reopened on Wednesday; however, traffic remains limited.

Some traffic was moving slowly through a new blockade about 15 kilometers north of Coutts near the town of Milk River on Thursday. The blockade affected southbound lanes, but, with the RCMP still advising people to avoid the area, little to no traffic was traveling north across the border either.

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Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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