Why They’re Food Heroes: In April 2020, the United Sherpa Association’s temple and community center in Elmhurst, Queens launched a food pantry program for congregants and community members alike. The program became especially helpful for Nepalese college students, many of whom were forced out of their university housing but living thousands of miles away from their families. Most of these students did not qualify for the federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits, so the pantry at United Sherpa Association was a lifeline, providing food and PPE to anyone who needs it. Furthermore, the pantry was a place for Nepalese community members to find comfort and friendship so far from home.
Background: The United Sherpa Association is a non-profit community organization that helps immigrant families, especially the Sherpa cultural group from the Himalayas. The Association has a temple and community center in Elmhurst, Queens. Elmhurst, along with the nearby neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Corona, were hit especially hard in the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis in the spring of 2020.
Work: The United Sherpa Association’s mission statement is “to establish a united and prosperous community with a unique and rich cultural heritage in the USA,” and they do this through Buddhist cultural programs, sports teams and clubs, educational resources, and more.
Location: Elmhurst, Queens
Website: United Sherpa Association
Resources and References: Buddhist Temple Food Pantry a Lifeline for Nepalese Students (Associated Press)