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#NeighborhoodHeroes: Thousands of hot meals and face masks being donated in Indio

Chandi Group USA and members of the local Indian community worked together with the Sikh Temple Gurdwara Sahib Indio and the city of Indio to distribute meals and facemasks at Miles Avenue Park in Indio. They prepared and over 3,000 hot meals on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:00 a.m Wednesday morning. In addition to free, freshly prepared meals, over 5,000 surgical face masks were also being given away.

Nachhattar Chandi, the president of Chandi Group USA, said, "People should not go out of hunger. We have a car lined up since 8 'o clock in the morning." He said that during difficult times when people stick together, they come out stronger.

Toni Merrihew is the CFO for Chandi Group USA. She said, "The Sikh community along with the greater Indian community, naturally, it’s a part of their culture to prepare meals and serve the community. And with the current COVID-19 situation they kept coming together and asking how can we help, what can they do."

Harvinder Singh is the president of the Sikh temple. He said if people need help, then he wants to be able to help.

The residents we were able to speak to were very grateful for these donations. One resident said, "Right now that I am on disability. I mean, it’s a Godsend." Another resident said, "I think it’s a good way to connect with the community. Especially because it’s coming from a good place in their heart. I just want to feel some of that and receive some of that, you know." A third resident stated, "I think it’s a beautiful thing what the community is doing and how they are keeping us empowered and they care about our children at this time."

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This meal and mask distribution was a true form of neighbors helping neighbors. Glenn Miller, the mayor of the city of Indio, said, "It is a community event helping back for those in need. And it means the world to them for people to know there are other people out there that are needing help also, but at the same time there are people here to help."

Chandi ended by stating his gratitude for all the volunteers working together, "I just really want to thank everyone for coming in such a difficult time. Bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone."

News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more on these donations tonight.

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

While the coronavirus crisis is keeping us apart, we know the Coachella Valley community is still coming together to help each other. We are looking for those who are lending a hand during this uncertain time. Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

We are all in this together. Help us showcase the good that's happening right here in the Coachella Valley.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
Cough into your elbow or tissue.
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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