As in years prior, Sikhs in the city of Tracy, California came together to provide warm clothing to needy families this weekend:
Organizers estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 men, women and children picked out new coats, gloves, socks and blankets at the Larch Clover Community Center on West Larch Road. Now in its 14th year, the event is organized by Tracy Sikhs and spearheaded by Mike Sandhu, co-owner of Sandhu Brothers Farms.
“We are trying to help the needy people, and there are a lot of people hurting right now with the economy,” Sandhu said. “We decided 14 years ago to try to help the needy people in our communities, and we’ve been doing that ever since.”
The clothing drive is done in memory of the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh:
The clothing giveaways are a way of honoring the sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikh martyrs who were confined in freezing conditions and beheaded by Muslims in Punjab, India, in 1705 because they refused to convert to Islam, Sandhu said.
“About 300 years ago, our Guru’s sons, 7 and 9 years old, were forced to stay in freezing cold so they would convert to Islam, but they would not convert to Islam, and finally they cut their heads off because they wouldn’t convert,” Sandhu said. “They kept them so cold so they would change their religion to Islam, but they would not convert, so we do this every year in their memory.”