More than 500 vehicles — as well as several homeless on bicycles pulling carts — drove through the community food distribution and free face mask giveaway Saturday at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard.
The event engineered by the Sikhs for Humanity in conjunction with Sikhs of Manteca behind organizing efforts of individual such as Manteca Councilman Gary Singh and Manteca Planning Commission member Paraminder Sahi was staged in a bid to ease the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the community.
Since the pandemic started, Sikhs for Humanity have distributed 10,000 K95 masks as well as 30,000 fabric masks all sewn by volunteers from San Joaquin County north to Yuba City and into the Bay Area. They have also served more than 1,000 meals to frontline hospital personnel
The steady stream Saturday of vehicles — at one time backed up as far as Powers Avenue — passed a number of stations where volunteers such as Mayor Ben Cantu and council members Jose Nuño and Singh — helped load fresh produce and food items provided by the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Food bank coordinators indicated that somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people, many of them kids, benefitted for the effort. The food bank brought five truckloads of fresh produce and food products paid for by the America Petroleum & Convenience Store Association to help meet the need.
Organizers also made free kits that included KN95 masks, sanitizer, and cloth masks available to those who work in frontline retail and service jobs.