Since about March 21, Sukhwant Singh Gill and his son Gury Gill have been giving away milk at their Shell gas station at 360 D Street in Blaine, and more recently they started giving out free bread as well.
“My son and myself, we thought we need to do something for the community during this hardship,” Sukhwant Singh Gill said. “We were feeling like we shouldn’t always make money. This is a time to support the local community.”
As the new coronavirus and the effects of social distancing snowballed in March, Sukhwant Singh Gill, who is also president of a Lynden Sikh temple, looked for a way to help the community. After talking with a friend, he got the idea to start giving away milk and bread to those who need it, he said.
The Gills are currently giving away two cartons of milk and one loaf of bread per family. They are making exceptions for those taking home extra for neighbors.
Milk is a popular item at local stores and gas stations. Canadians who come south to buy cheaper gas also take advantage of U.S. government-subsidized dairy. With border restrictions in place as of March 21, Canadian demand vanished. But the Gills are not just giving away surplus milk from a drop in business – they’ve ordered more to keep up with the local need for free milk and they’re trying to source more bread, Sukhwant Singh Gill said.
“I am asking other businesses … we all should do it. We all should help the local community, because the local community helps us,” he said. “They give us business and we should give them something back in a hard time.”
Business at the Shell station has surely dropped off with border restrictions and the state’s stay-at-home order, but Mr. Gill wasn’t interested in talking about that.
“I’m not thinking about the business right now,” he said. “It’s not time to think about business, it’s time to think about how we can fight the coronavirus, how we can help the community, how we can help the needy.”
The D Street Shell’s current temporary hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Its owners plan to give away milk and bread until April 7, but that could be extended, they said.