Order Sons of Italy expanding into Fresh Meadows

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The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) is coming to Fresh Meadows.

OSIA is the largest organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the country, representing more than 26 million people. Its mission includes the encouragement and study of Italian-American traditions and culture and promoting closer cultural relations between the United States and Italy, officials said.

“We feel that we could be a good presence in the area, and we want to reach out to the community.” said member Eleanor Jobbagy.

OSIA officials said they are in the process of starting up another lodge — this time in northeast Queens. Last year, the group launched a lodge in Howard Beach, and the organization had a presence once in the Flushing area, but Jobbagy said a lot of the members were elderly and had passed on. Since then, the lodge merged with the one in Maspeth, she said.

“We know there’s a large Italian population in the area. We want to promote a positive image of ourselves, and we feel we want to preserve our heritage and culture. In every culture, when it comes to new generations, you lose some of that culture. We want to try and preserve it.” Jobbagy said.

The Fresh Meadows lodge’s first introductory meeting will be held on April 11 at Holy Family Church, located at Utopia Parkway and 75th Avenue. It will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Jobbagy said residents from any neighborhood are welcomed to attend, as well as those who are not of Italian descent.

“As long as you believe in liberty, equality and fraternity — our principles — we want you to join,” she said.

Interested parties can call Stella Grillo at 347-204-8006.