The Need for City’s Only South Asian Food Pantry

Some of the offerings at the South Asian Council for Social Services’ food pantry in Flushing. (Photo via Desi Talk)

The South Asian Council for Social Services, a community empowerment organization, opened NYC’s only food pantry to cater to South Asian communities in July of last year. Now, some 100 people line up on Fridays to pick up food items donated by the community, such as dals, spices, and rice. In total, 631 people are registered with the food pantry, with 40 to 50 percent of them Indian, SACSS founder and executive director Sudha Acharya told Desi Talk‘s Ela Dutt. In speaking about the patrons, he added: “The unfortunate thing is the numbers are rising. Every week we are seeing more.”

The inspiration for staring the food pantry came when two years ago, a woman (not identified by name), who was terminally ill with cancer, came for help, Acharya recalls. She had no resources at all, and she spoke only Telugu. The SACSS took her to a pantry “But there was not a single thing she could take from there. She told us she only wanted a little rice and dal and would cook herself,” Acharya. It brought home the need for culturally appropriate food.

Acharya describes the circumstances faced by some of the patrons the food pantry serves. Read more on this, and the pantry itself, at Desi Talk.

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