Racial abuse ignites food security mission

Amar Singh has used the experience of being racially abused for his turban and beard to create change in his community.

Mr Singh founded an organisation called Turbans 4 Australia, which works to put an end to food insecurity.

Founded in 2015, the group delivers up to 450 food and grocery hampers each week to vulnerable residents across Sydney's west.

Turbans 4 Australia has also played a pivotal role outside of Sydney in disaster relief efforts, helping to bring crucial supplies to affected areas.

The charity has helped deliver supplies to flood victims in Lismore, bushfire survivors on the NSW south coast, as well as vulnerable people during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Mr Singh has used the organisation to help promote multiculturalism and religious tolerance in the wider community.

For his efforts, Mr Singh has been named Australia's Local Hero for 2023.

Mr Singh said he initially struggled with his sense of identity after arriving in the country as a migrant.

"I'm a man who fought to find his place in Australia, against lonely and isolating times, coming to a new country with a suitcase as a 15-year-old," he said.

"I wanted to play a role in bringing our communities together, make it a more harmonious place. I wanted to help build bridges."

The Local Hero winner said Australians from all backgrounds deserved to be treated equally with respect and proud of their cultural identity.

"I don't want somebody judged go for their turban or hijab. We're all human beings. We all bleed red," he said.

"What we want to do is create not just an understanding of our culture but the cultures around us ... I want every kid to be proud of their food, their language, their culture and their parents."

National Australia Day Council chair Danielle Roche said Mr Singh's efforts have shown helping others should not be limited by religion or cultural background.

"Amar has turned his own experience of discrimination into a positive, and sparked a movement that helps thousands of people put food on the table," Ms Roche said.

The local hero aware is in its 20th year in 2023.