Haitian-Americans United for Progress, the Cambria Heights-based nonprofit that aids Haitians in Queens as well as the other boroughs and has been at the forefront of providing assistance to the island nation ravaged by an earthquake in January, is set to hold its 35th anniversary dinner Saturday at Antun’s in Queens Village.
The $100 a head dinner — $75 a person for students and seniors — is scheduled to run from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and will be honoring elected officials, including City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Borough President Helen Marshall, state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans).
HAUP is also going to give special recognition to Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), who donated $200,000 to the group so it could break ground on a new office, and Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica), who donated some of her staff to support HAUP during the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
HAUP was founded in 1975 by Bishop Gui Sansaricq of Sacred Heart Church in Cambria Heights as well as other members of the church as a way to assist the influx of Haitian immigrants into the neighborhood.
“I think we’ve grown tremendously in services” since 1975, said Elsie Saint-Louis Accilien, HAUP’s executive director. “We’ve adjusted our services to meet the growing needs of the Haitian Americans. Over the years, we’ve been steadfast in the services we’ve provided.”
The group, based at 221-05 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights, has raised $3.8 million for a new home.
Accilien said the earthquake in Haiti has both raised HAUP’s profile in the city and has been the group’s largest endeavor since its founding.
“The past nine months, I think, have been our greatest challenge ever,” she said.
HAUP helped Haitians in Queens and throughout the city get in touch with family members in the days after the earthquake and had been the clearing house for information and access to elected officials, Accilien said.
The group also helps Haitian Americans receive health care and housing and new immigrants who come to Queens with nothing find clothing, family members or someone else who will take them in, she said.
HAUP also holds after-school programs, leadership skills and delinquency prevention classes for youth and adult and civic education, Accilien said.
“We advocate very, very much for Haitians and the rights of Haitian Americans,” she said.
For tickets to Saturday’s event, call HAUP at 718-527-3776 and ask for Martine or Sophia.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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