City Councilmembers Peter Koo and Daniel Dromm visited the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) South Asian Food Pantry in Flushing on Dec. 13, joining staff and volunteers in distributing prepared meals.
Koo and Dromm interacted with community members in line to receive food and experienced a first-hand account of the operation at SACSS Food Pantry, located at 143-06 45th Ave.
“Our heartfelt thanks to our elected officials, Council Members Peter Koo & Daniel Dromm, for their support to the South Asian Food Pantry, said Sudha Acharya, SACSS executive director. “Their presence at the pantry is a testament of their acknowledgement of the rising problem of hunger and food insecurity in our communities.”
The South Asian Food Pantry opened its doors in July 2016 serving low-income and underserved South Asian and other immigrants in New York City — with particular emphasis on Queens. Many pantry recipients are immigrants isolated in their homes or communities, have low education levels, and high unemployment rates — all of which intensifies their poverty and risk for poor nutrition.
The South Asian Food Pantry distributes food to about 25 to 30 clients every week. Today, it has grown to serve over 5,970 individuals — annually, with 350 families getting food every week. The pantry serves healthy vegetarian meals which suits the palate, as well as religious beliefs of its clients — particularly Hindus, Jains, and Muslim clients.
Nutritious food items that are basic to the South Asian diet such as rice, dal (lentils), atta (whole wheat flour) and spices (chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander powder, and mustard seeds). The pantry also provides fresh seasonal produce such as vegetables and fruit, milk, cereal, oatmeal, pasta and bread.
The South Asian Food Pantry is open every Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and gives clients the freedom to choose their own food which they can use to make meals that match their personal dietary preferences.
Acknowledging the diversity of the clientele that is served by SACSS, Koo expressed that SACSS is one of the “most successful, inclusive and much-needed social service organization” in Queens.
“The South Asian Council on Social Services has the city’s only South Asian food pantry that caters to all, including various cultural, vegetarian and religious dietary restrictions,” Koo said. “My office has funded this organization over the past eight years because of its dedication and commitment to inclusion, and I look forward to seeing them grow and succeed in their mission to empower and integrate the South Asian and immigrant communities.”
Meanwhile, Dromm thanked the volunteers and staff for their commitment and dedication in ensuring that community members received vital food services.
“I was humbled to see the large number of clients SACSS serves who are in need of food,” Dromm said. “I am pleased that SACSS is meeting the needs of the South Asian and East Asian communities by serving nutritious food specific to their home countries which is often unavailable at other pantries. Providing food and services that are culturally competant is important to our immigrant communities. I am proud to allocate funding for this important endeavor.”