Indo-CaribbSeniors Feted for Holiday in NYC
The greater Richmond Hill senior citizens (primarily Indo-Caribbeans) were feted for a special holiday buffet lunch and entertainment last Sunday at Villa Russo on Lefferts Blvd and 101 Avenue. The event was organized by a few community leaders like Frank Singh (President), Kay Ramdat (VP), Ena Persaud (Treasurer), Mala Dasrat (Secretary), Dr. Vijay Lilliah, Stanley Raj, Dr. Taj Rajkumar (founder), and other advocates and supported by the Indo-Caribbean Federation and other organizations. It was a most wonderful holiday luncheon that attracted politicians and prominent local singers. Frank Singh said this was the 17th annual luncheon. The organizers were praised for their altruism and hard work.
This is the season of peace, goodwill and caring for others. The organizers wanted to entertain, treat, and honor the elders. They note it is the custom in Indian culture to treat elders with love and respect and to care for them. The elderly did a lot for their children as they grew, and it is only fair that this gesture be returned. It is also noted that senior citizens are not treated with the respect they deserve and it was good to see a few community advocates doing things for them. It is noted that one of scourges of old age is loneliness especially during the winter season. The holiday luncheon allowed seniors an afternoon to socialize with others.
The Villa Russo catering hall was transformed into a festively decorated atmosphere with party favors and Christmas paraphernalia including a well-lit tree, providing an atmosphere of fervor and celebration to the elderly citizens. The holiday luncheon was sponsored by several community organizations and businesses to show appreciation for the seniors. The event helped to promote partnerships between businesses and the local communities. It was funded by donations from several businesses and a host of mostly female volunteers who worked very hard to put together the program and organize gifts for everyone. The lunch was served at no cost to anyone. It was a traditional Guyanese menu.
The lunch included jolly entertainment of songs, music and dancing that was interspersed with speeches from politicians and the organizers. This annual luncheon started very small sixteen years ago with just a few dozen seniors. But this year saw some 500 attendees. The guests included several non-Indians from the greater Richmond Hill area all of whom were seen dancing to Indian chutney music and old classical Bollywood songs.
The seniors took part in the proceedings with lot of enthusiasm singing, dancing and cheering the entertainers and speakers. The non-Indians also showed their appreciation for what the Indian community has done for them.
The master of ceremonies, Frank Singh and Son Son, encouraged people to sing their favorite songs accompanied by karaoke music and to dance. The old timers blurted out many tunes. They sang several old Bollywood songs of yesteryears and took to the dance floor when old chutney songs were belted. The non-Indians cheered and also danced away. The luncheon brought out an energy of its own among the elderly restoring their youth on the dance floor. Joy beamed from their faces. At their tables, they reminisce about their Christmas past in Guyana.
As the celebrants left, each received a holiday gift in a lovely holiday bag.
The organizers thanked the management of Villa Russo for providing the space for the function and to all who donated food, cash and contributed towards its success including.