Be Seated for SACSS

This year, our unique fundraiser ‘Be Seated for SACSS’ was a successful event thanks to our supporters and friends who came together at Dhamaka in Lower Manhattan in celebration of World Food Day to enjoy a delicious South Asian dinner while supporting the incredible work of SACSS.

SACSS awardees and ambassadors Roni Mazumdar, founder of Unapologetic Foods, James Beard and Michelin Star Chefs/Partners Chintan Pandya and Vijay Kumar, hosted the event and catered the delectable dishes from their globally renowned restaurants.

And what’s a celebration without some entertainment? Grammy Award-Nominated Global Artist, Humanitarian, and Entrepreneur Chandrika Tandon graced us with a song from her new album, “Ammu’s Treasures.”

As the evening continued, our guests were treated to a mind-blowing performance from Magician and Mentalist Nitin Ramlall.

Held on World Food Day during Global Diversity Month, ‘Be Seated for SACSS’ highlighted the organization’s efforts to continue providing critical services like culturally relevant food, healthcare, mental health support, job preparedness, women’s economic empowerment program, public benefit access, and senior care.

In her heartfelt opening remarks, SACSS Ambassador and Culinary Entrepreneur Barkha Cardoz noted the importance of SACSS’ food pantry, while praising Executive Director Sudha Acharya for her “kindness and compassion” and SACSS staff members’ “intention and love” to help the immigrant community in Queens and beyond.

“They’re not just nourishing a human being, but they’re giving the person standing before them a space to say, ‘I see you. I understand you, and I will do what it is to make your life better. That’s what SACSS is,’” Cardoz said.

John Albert, a supporter of SACSS, said the community “deserve all of our help and attention.”

As the immigrant community continues to recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acharya said the organization is working to “help families to the best of our ability” so they can “live their lives with dignity,” while noting the dire issue of food insecurity.

“Through our weekly food pantry, SACSS serves 1,700 families every week. “Last year, we served 175,000 people with various services, and this year we’ve already served 195,000 people,” Acharya said.

In their testimonies, SACSS Health Director Rehan Mehmood and Director of Family Support Services Mary Archana Fernandez shared their personal stories and experiences helping clients.

When asked why he supports SACSS and what about the organization inspires him, Mazumdar recounted visiting the community center in Flushing, which reminded him of his late grandparents.

“A woman was having trouble with her cellphone and she didn’t know how to reach out to someone. This was during COVID,” Mazumdar said. “I remember how my mother and I fight right now about how she can’t figure out her phone. We take these little moments for granted. Seeing these individuals in the room, I realized they are just like my grandparents.”

‘Be Seated for SACSS’ was sponsored by Unapologetic Foods, Dhamaka, Masalawala, Kebabwala, Rowdy Rooster, Semma, Adda Indian Canteen, The Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC), Fitek LLC and Trust State Trust Company.

We extend our love and gratitude to everyone who came out to support the incredible work SACSS is doing to continue meeting the needs of our growing, diverse community in Flushing and beyond. Our immense gratitude to our SACSS Ambassadors Roni Mazumdar, Chintan Pandya, Vijay Kumar and Barkha Cardoz for all that they do.

And special thanks to Grammy-Award Nominated Global Artist Chandrika Tandon and Magician and Mentalist Nitin Ramlall.

An Evening to Remember!

Special Guest Chandrika Tandon

Our Ambassadors

Chintan Pandya

Chintan Pandya, Executive Chef and Partner of Unapologetic Foods Group, leads six NYC restaurants. He earned the 2022 James Beard Foundation Best Chef award for Dhamaka, redefining Indian cuisine in the US. With a mission to elevate perceptions of Indian food, Pandya garners recognition for his innovative approach, consistently pushing culinary boundaries and receiving numerous accolades.

Roni Mazumdar

Roni Mazumdar, the creative force behind Unapologetic Foods, has ignited the NYC dining scene. A prominent restaurateur, he’s actively involved with the New York State Restaurant Association, City Harvest’s Food Council, and No Kid Hungry, striving to eliminate childhood hunger. Recognized for his achievements, Crain’s New York Business named him to the esteemed 40 Under 40 Class of 2020.

Vijay Kumar

Vijay Kumar, hailing from a small town near Madurai, India, honed his culinary skills in Indian restaurants across the Bay Area after moving to the US. His journey led him to join Unapologetic Foods and establish Semma in 2021. The same year, the restaurant attained a prestigious Michelin star, a remarkable feat for an Indian eatery in the US.

Glimpses from the evening!