Heart & Dinner Feeds the Elderly of New York City’s Chinatown
Image Source: https://www.heartofdinner.org
New York City-based restauranteur Moonlynn Tsai (https://www.kopitiamnyc.com) and podcaster Yin Chang of 88 Cups of Tea (https://88cupsoftea.com), didn’t expect to spend the pandemic serving over 20,000 meals to the elderly of New York City’s Chinatown, but that’s exactly what they did. Beginning in April 2020, the couple watched and experienced displays of outright racism towards Asian Americans. They also observed how hardly hit Manhattan’s restaurants were and immediately thought that there was a need to make sure that New York’s elderly Asian population didn’t go hungry.
Heart of Dinner (https://www.heartofdinner.org) originated in the couple’s apartment kitchen where they prepped food around the clock and organized drop-off and delivery schedules. The goal was to deliver a combination of prepared meals, dry goods, and groceries in a timely manner, so that Chinatown’s senior citizens would not have to put their health at risk by riding the subway or visiting a grocery store. With the help of a growing network of volunteers and the popular hashtag #LovingChinatown, Heart of Dinner soon grew into an independent 501©3 certified non-profit collective.
Restaurant partners began to offer up their own kitchens with the goal of providing hot lunches and care packages to as many homebound seniors as possible. Heart of Dinner has also expanded into a vehicle for social-emotional support for many of New York City’s Asian Americans. For example, hand-delivered meals usually include a note of support, a poem, or a hand drawn illustration – anything to help residents feel that they are not alone and certainly not forgotten.
Amazingly, Heart of Dinner reached their impressive goal of delivering 50,000 meals in January 2021. Their new goal is to reach 250,000 homecooked and home-delivered meals to the senior community. The best way for non-New Yorkers to make a contribution is through a tax-deductible donation at https://www.heartofdinner.org/our-story.
For more information, visit https://www.heartofdinner.org/contact.