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Hundreds To Stay Warm This Winter, Thanks To Tracy Sikhs


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
TRACY -- Hundreds of residents braved the cold and rain Saturday morning to get a free coat for winter. The American Sikh Community spent $75,000 this year to offer more than 15,000 winter items such as coats, gloves, scarves, socks, hats and blankets.

The coordinator's for Saturday's event was the Sikh community in Tracy. Lines grew to more than 400 people deep, and an estimated 2,000 people were expected to benefit from the day's event that was held at the Larch Clover Community Center. The group plans to hold additional warm-clothing giveaways in Manteca, Modesto and Turlock, the dates of which have yet to be announced.

"This feels good to be able to help the community and see the small kids be able to pick out a new coat," said Karnail Singh Sandhu, one of the event's coordinators. "This may be the only coat these children have this year. We are doing this in remembrance of Sahibzada Zorawar Singh, age 9, and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, age 7, who were kidnapped (in the year 1705) and put into a cold and damp room with nothing to keep them warm. They were tortured and killed because of their religious convictions. Today, we honor them and give warm clothing in remembrance."

Entire families showed up and stood in line for almost an hour to pick out a free coat. The largest family to show had 10 members, with the average family numbering five. Ages ranged from newborn to a woman in her late 80s. All seemed grateful for the warm clothing and blankets.

"This is good for us," said Noralba Rodriguez, who was there with her three grandchildren. "Now my grandchildren can get jackets and be warm this winter. I want to say thank you for the people who organized this -- it's a nice gift."

"We are doing this as the start of our Christmas giveaway," said Erte Boyette, director of the Larch Clover Community Center. "For the past several years we have helped provide food for the homeless, and programs as well. "... Next we will focus on doing food baskets for Christmas."




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