By Mikel Frederick
June Metro Volunteer Program (MVP) Newsletter
Las Vegas, NV — At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Las Vegas was facing a dire shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and many had lost their jobs.
In true Las Vegas Strong fashion, the Las Vegas Sikh community stepped up and handed out free food and masks to those in need.
In May, 2020, the Las Vegas Sikhs Engaged in Volunteer Activities (SEVA), in partnership with the LVMPD, held two free food and mask distribution drives, handing out over 2,500 free meals and 4,000 masks.
Amar Chadha, 45, the CEO of SEVA, said the event was hugely successful in large part due to the LVMPD and local restaurants that contributed meals for the events.
Chadha said the LVMPD was very helpful with logistics and organization of the events, giving special thanks to Undersheriff Kevin McMahill and Assistant Sheriff Christopher Jones, who helped with logistics and support.
“We cherish our relationship with Mr. Chadha and The Sikh Community. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Amar Chadha for his commitment to our agency and Las Vegas. He is a true hero,” Jones said.
Chadha and his wife, Jasmeet, personally finance and run the grass roots non-profit organization. “We created the organization to help anyone who needs help,” Chadha said. “We’re no millionaires, but we desperately try to do what we can.”
For the past 10 years, Chadha, a devout Sikh, and Las Vegas local since 2000, has actively helped bridge the relationship between the LVMPD and the 9,000 strong Las Vegas Sikh community.
Chadha said his active involvement with the LVMPD began about 10 years ago, triggered by an event that changed his life.
At a local Starbucks, Chadha, dressed in a suit and wearing his turban, was reviewing a loan application when he was approached and detained by two LVMPD officers. Chadha said the officers were searching for a possible bomb suspect who had threatened a nearby bank. For him, it was a life-changing event that spurred him to get involved with local law enforcement.
In 2014, Chadha joined the LVMPD volunteer program to better understand the LVMPD and how it helped the community. “I wanted to get involved with other communities and thought this would be a great program to know about Metro and how they help locals on day to day basis, Chadha said.
Chadha devotes most of his time to the Airport VIVA program where he helps visitors – especially minority groups from India. “It’s always a great pleasure to be able to serve,” Chadha said. Chadha’s partnership with the LVMPD has allowed him to educate law enforcement personnel on what Sikhism is about. It’s a great partnership – going on 10 years now.
He added that his close relationship with the LVMPD and the FBI has vastly improved the Sikh community relationship with law enforcement.
Chadha has served on the Las Vegas Sheriff’s Metro Multi-cultural advisory board and is currently on the board of directors for the FBI Las Vegas Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association.
Chadha had high praise for Sheriff Lombardo, saying, “He has really been accommodating to the Sikh community. They have really become familiar with who we are as a community.”
A mortgage consultant by trade and charity organizer in his spare time would seem a pretty busy schedule, but Chadha loves what he does. “I’ve been doing this all my life – helping the community,” Chadha said.