CHEK Upside: Indo-Canadian family launch mobile food bank for South Island’s most vulnerable

CHEK Upside: Indo-Canadian family launch mobile food bank for South Island's most vulnerable

An Indo-Canadian family has launched a mobile food bank to help the south Island’s most vulnerable people.

In early 2021, the Popli family funded their own mobile food bank called Fateh Care.

Harjas and Dr. Navneet Popli work away at their home headquarters, planning out who they can help next.

“So we win hearts by caring, so winning hearts by caring is Fateh Care,” said Harjas Singh Popli, explaining the English translation of Fateh.

The married couple are practicing Sikhs and say it’s a religious custom to donate ten percent of their income to charity. So they help because they can, but that wasn’t always the case as the family faced many struggles when they moved to Calgary from India just over a year ago.

“We had Sikh temple helping us, we had food banks we had all types of different helps,” said Dr. Navneet Popli, whose family moved to Saanich when the computer science professor landed a job at the University of Victoria.

After a rocky few months in which the entire family contracted COVID-19, the Popli’s finally found their footing and started giving back. To this day, they make multiple trips a week to grocery stores, delivering food to the south Island’s most vulnerable.

“All we know is they’re struggling to get food on the table for their family, we don’t ask them anything else,” said Harjas.

They’ve helped people like Ginger Green, a single mother of six on unpaid medical leave who recently lost her partner.

“I feel like he’s an angel or a saint or something,” Green told CHEK News via telephone. “I’ve never experienced that or heard of somebody that can come immediately to a family or a mom in crisis.”

And it’s become a family affair, as both of their sons drop off groceries and even mow their neighbour’s lawn.

“It feels so good, it’s overwhelming, it’s awesome,” said Harjas, who’s set up partnerships with multiple grocery stores to receive discounted items.

“Oh it’s amazing, it’s heavenly I can tell you, it’s so satisfying,” added Dr. Popli. “Life is a boomerang, give and you will get.”

They estimate they’ve helped nearly two hundred people in just a few months and hope their actions inspire others to do the same.

For information on how to volunteer with Fateh Care or if you’re in need of their assistance, click here.

READ MORE: Champion for Victoria’s most vulnerable Reverend Al Tysick retires

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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