'We are here to help': Turbans 4 Australia give to the community

Support: Turbans 4 Australians volunteers packing food hampers on Wednesday at Carnes Hill Community Centre. Picture: Chris Lane
Support: Turbans 4 Australians volunteers packing food hampers on Wednesday at Carnes Hill Community Centre. Picture: Chris Lane

In 2015, Prestons resident Amar Singh founded Turbans 4 Australia.

As a proud Australian Sikh man, he wanted a way to teach others about his community and his faith through charity work.

In 2020, Turbans 4 Australia has become an invaluable volunteer-based organisation for the south-west community and across NSW during COVID-19.

It started with the devastating bushfires last summer when the team helped transport 80 tonnes of food and 120,000 bottles of water to 12 towns on the south and north coast of NSW. They also provided tools and hot meals for emergency staff and raised more than $10,000.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they started cooking and delivering rice and lentil porridge for residents in Campbelltown, Macquarie Fields, Ingleburn, Fairfield, Liverpool and the city. For four months they COVID-safely delivered on average 250 meals a day.

"Many meal services for the homelessness and needy stopped during COVID. We were cooking the meals in Liverpool and contactless deliver them to community leaders so they can help out their own communities," Mr Singh said.

"It was challenging at first because we had no set plan on how we would go about it and how to make it happen but we have a lot of dedicated people so we said let's do it because people are struggling and we are here to help."

Since July 1, the group, which operates out of Carnes Hill Community Centre, has turned their attention to delivering food hampers of non-perishable food and personal care items to people in need across south-west Sydney including international university students.

"We have definitely seen an increase in demand for hampers since the cuts to jobseeker were announced," said Mr Singh, who runs a transport company while juggling his charity commitments.

Turbans 4 Australia has a team of 70-80 volunteers and rely solely on community donations. Recently the group was named the Volunteer Team of the Year for the Fairfield and Liverpool region as part of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Run by The Centre for Volunteering, the awards have grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

"It's amazing recognition for all our volunteers and all the unsung heroes behind the scenes that make it happen for us," Mr Singh said.

"In 2015 we started because we are very passionate about regional communities. Our first project was helping the farmers with the drought and delivered around $3000 worth of groceries to farmers doing it tough in Dubbo and we drove seven semi-trailers full of hay from Camden to Coonamble."