Flushing, Queens, NY, Thursday, August 12, 2021 – Today, Congressperson Grace Meng, NYS Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and John Liu, Assemblymember Nily Rozic, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Deputy Queens Borough President Rhonda Binda, and NYC Councilmembers Peter Koo, Daniel Dromm, and Barry Grodenchik gathered to inaugurate South Asian Council for Social Services’ (SACSS) new community center, with a ribbon cutting.
Located in the heart of Flushing, the center is a two-story building with a finished basement from which SACSS, a 20-year old nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering underserved South Asian and other immigrants, will offer an expanded food pantry, more space for senior immigrants to gather, and increased health access, among other services.
At the ribbon cutting, Congressperson Meng commended SACSS’s exceptional work in responding to the needs of the community, and said that “The center is for the community, which is not limited to South Asians, SACSS works for all immigrants who need them.” NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky echoed these sentiments, and NYS Senator John Liu spoke to SACSS’s humble beginnings and the growth of SACSS’s work and impact over the last twenty years of its existence.
Councilmember Peter Koo (District 20, home to Flushing) who was among those who contributed discretionary funding for the building, said, “SACSS has always been there for people in the community, but during the last year and a half, they have gone above and beyond, they have literally been saving people’s lives.”
Sudha Acharya, executive director and founder, thanked the efforts and generosity of the elected officials, donors, and many others, saying, “It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. We now know that it takes a city to raise a community center, city with a small c, and the one with the big C.” She added that it was a dream come true, especially in light of the huge, and continued need for services such as the food pantry as a result of the pandemic, and the devastating impact it has had on immigrant communities.
As part of the effort to raise awareness for the expanded food pantry, which is the only one in the city to offer culturally palatable groceries, Chef Surbhi Sahni of Tagmo Treats prepared a take-away box of healthy South Asian treats, including a chick pea salad made out of ingredients from SACSS’s grocery bag.
In 2020, SACSS served more than 30,000 people struggling to feed their families, pay their bills, stay healthy, and survive. All SACSS services are free and offered in18 languages spoken widely among South Asian and other immigrant communities.