By Aishwarya Singh
India Home, which serves the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean senior immigrant community in New York City, celebrated its annual gala on October 22 in New York, in what was the organization’s first in-person gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic. A coming together of all friends and supporters, the event marked a way to applaud India Home for 15 joyous and monumental years of functioning.
One of the main opening speakers at the Queens event was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has been proudly championing the cause of India Home for several years now.
“The work of India Home is so inspiring,” Schumer said. “India Home serves our elderly right here in New York with the needs to incorporate languages and culture. Because many of our elderly don’t fully speak English, but they’re here, they’re Americans, they’re great members of our community, and they need help. That’s why India Home is so important.”
The senator was also vocal about being committed to unlocking federal grants for the great work India Home is engaging in within New York.
Throughout the afternoon, several political speakers and highly accomplished elderly citizens talked about why the work of India Home is meaningful. India Home Founder Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi made a strong appeal to the community to step forward and support the cause. “Despite government support coming our way steadily, the community stepping up to support is critical for our growth and future,” she said.
In attendance were the movers and shakers of the New York political circle, including City Council Members Linda Lee, Shekar Krishnan and James F. Gennaro; New York State Assembly Members Edward C. Braunstein, David I. Weprin and Jenifer Rajkumar; State Sen. John Liu and former Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi.
READ: Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi named ‘Influencers in Aging’ for 2017 by Next Avenue (September 28, 2017)
The event’s honorees included Mukund Mehta, Dr. Purna Atluri, Harshad Patel, Dr. Sandhya Cautha, Shaaranya Pillai, and Parker Jewish Institute for Healthcare and Rehabilitation.
Different people and organizations were also honored by emcee Reena Shah, throughout the afternoon for the many ways in which they had contributed to India Home.
Through a slew of sponsorships, individual contributions, and live fundraising at the gala, the event surpassed the goal of $125,000 raised. All the funds raised that afternoon will be used towards a whole host of programs run by India Home to improve the lives and wellness of New York’s seniors.
READ: New York pledges $10 million to Asian American communities (February 24, 2022)
Some examples of the programs include “Fall Prevention” sessions, the “Keep on Track” blood pressure monitoring training program, in partnership with New York University, and the “3D Desi Dementia Day Care” program. The funds will also be allocated to help with the meals and transportation needs of the seniors of India Home.
The event also paid homage to South Asia and its diasporic culture through traditional performances. From the melodic sitar in the afternoon to the Bangladeshi folk-dance performance halfway through the gala, along with tunes of the renowned DJ Rekha, the nods to culture were beautifully interwoven with the rest of the event and showcased styles of art unique to the South Asian region. The musical ambiance combined with the beautiful interiors of the Terrace On The Park venue on the pleasant fall afternoon made for a vibrant event that exuded joy and celebration.
(Aishwarya Singh is the founder and co-host of South Asia’s first and largest true crime podcast, The Desi Crime Podcast.)