The Sikh religion teaches its community to give back in times of need, and that’s exactly what Sarmukh Singh has done during the coronavirus pandemic. Singh, owner of Punjabi Dhaba, an Indian restaurant inside a Shell gas station in Hammond, La., donated free meals to all patrons who stopped by the station from April 9-16. The free vegetarian meals—also known as Langar in Sikhism—included rotis (bread), rice, daal (lentils), a vegetable dish and kheer (dessert). “When the pandemic began, we temporarily shut down our restaurant,” Singh says. “Then, after a month, I asked my team if they would be ready to help people. They were all-in.” The community response immediately exceeded expectations. “We prepared to give 100 boxes [of food] a day,” he says. “We gave 500 on the first day alone, and every day afterwards, we gave more than 1,000.” Singh also delivered Langar to a local hospital, sheriff’s station and fire department. “The front-line people are trying to save us, so this is us showing our appreciation,” he says.

Punjabi Dhaba’s meal donations included rotis (bread), rice, daal (lentils), a vegetable dish and kheer (dessert).