British Columbia

B.C. Sikhs deliver $1 million worth of donations for Fort McMurray evacuees

B.C.'s Sikh community donated $1 million worth of goods to Fort McMurray families, delivered Monday by a convoy from Surrey, B.C.

'We feel they are all our families'

Truckloads of help arrives for Fort McMurray evacuees

7 years ago
Duration 1:00
The Sikh Community of B.C. has donated and delivered 9 truckloads of goods for the Fort McMurray relief effort in Edmonton. The total value of goods is estimated to be around a million dollars.

A convoy of Sikh truck drivers from Surrey, B.C. has completed a 2,262 kilometre return journey, hauling almost $1 million worth of donated goods to Edmonton for families from Fort McMurray forced to flee the wildfire.

The donations come from BC's Sikh community, mostly from Surrey and Vancouver.

"When they see people are fleeing their homes, in B.C. the whole Sikh community got together for collecting food and clothing and whatever was needed," said Kulmit Singh Sangha, a member of Edmonton's Sikh community who welcomed the truckers midday Monday.

Truck drivers, including Rhanjit Dhillon, far left, hauled $1 million worth of donations from B.C.'s Sikh community in Surrey to help Fort McMurray evacuees. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC News)

Surrey truck driver Rhanjit Dhillon was set to back his tractor trailer up to a loading bay at Edmonton's southside emergency donation centre. 

Normally, Dhillon hauls containers of lumber.

But Monday, he was unloading brand new pillows, children's clothes, toys, baby food, diapers and soft drinks. It was his second long haul trip from Surrey to help the victims of the Fort McMurray fire.

"I love it," said Dhillon. "I love helping the people. We feel they are all our families. They need our help."

Dhillon drove over the Rocky Mountains in a convoy with eight other drivers from Surrey, their trucks sporting colourful banners stating the message: BC Sikh Community Donation Drive for Fort McMurray.

Donations from the Sikh community in B.C. are unloaded at Edmonton's southside emergency donation centre, where Britanny Davidson drives a forklift. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC News)

Out on the highway, Dhillon said, the drivers were greeted with lots of horn honking from other vehicles and people saying things like "you are doing very well" and "we're very happy and excited." 

Dhillon is urging other Sikh communities across B.C. to join in the generosity.

"The main fundamental principal of Sikhism is helping and sharing with others," said Sangha. "Sikhs have been blessed by coming here to this country that has bestowed on them so many opportunities. So why not share with people when they need it?" 


  • A previous version of this story said the truckers drove 3,000 kilometres in total to deliver the donations to Edmonton. In fact, the return journey from Surrey to Edmonton is 2,260 kilometres.
    May 17, 2016 12:20 PM PT


Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener has won numerous journalism awards, including a national network award for radio documentary and the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award. Based in Prince George, B.C., Betsy has reported on everything from hip hop in Tanzania to B.C.'s energy industry and the Paralympics.