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SALT LAKE CITY — The spirit of Christmas includes an interfaith gesture from members of the Sikh Temple who are donating blankets for the homeless.
During a short service, Gurmeet Singh, the priest, read from the holy text which tells Sikhs if they remember God every day, He will take them as His children and their lives with be happier. During their Wednesday worship, they are hoping to bring happiness to others.
On Sunday, the congregation collected enough money to buy 200 blankets for the homeless, and members took the donations to the Road Home Wednesday.
"We always want to participate in our community, whatever little help we can do for food also and these blankets," said temple trustee Pushpinder Walia. "We thought we should contribute before Christmas, you know."
The Sikh members simply wanted to be part of the community, and to let everyone know they are here to help.
"It's too cold and God has blessed us and we want to share with other people," Walia said.
"The winter season can be a dangerous time for a lot of our clients and unfortunately, we see a lot of people struggle through that," said Road Home employee, Emily Petersen. "I know this will be a life-saving support for them. Thank you."
Sikhism is the fifth largest organized religion in the world with more than 30 million members with the majority living in the Punjab region of India. Founded in the 15th Century as a monotheistic faith, members reject discrimination against race, religion or gender.
Baptized Sikhs do not cut their hair, and the men wear turbans. They do not consume alcohol, tobacco or drugs. They believe strongly in marriage and family life.
At the sanctuary inside the Sikh Temple, men, women and children are asked to remove their shoes and cover their heads. During this particularly sacred time of year for Christians who commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Sikhs say they also wish to mark the birth of Jesus Christ as they revere him.
"We respect all religions and Christ has been a great prophet and Christmas is a blessing time," said temple trustee Jagdish Gill.
There are nearly 1,000 Sikhs in Utah. Their services take place every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., including both breakfast and lunch. All are welcome to attend.