2020 Pre-Thanksgiving Free Lunch to the Homeless at Dorothy Day Place

Served by Chinese American Association of Minnesota

Reported by Zan Gao and Yingying Chen

The Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM) has been adhering to the tradition of more than 30 years, and overcame various difficulties to deliver a “Pre-Thanksgiving Free Lunch” at the Dorothy Day Place of Catholic Charities in St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, on November 15th (Sunday), 2020. Nearly 250 homeless came and enjoyed a warm and delicious Chinese lunch.

It was cold on the day of the meal delivery and the city of St. Paul was covered with white snow. The chilliness from this early Winter and the second surging wave of the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop the local Chinese Americans from delivering food of love to the local homeless. Before ten o’clock in the morning, the board members of the CAAM arrived at the charity center and started various lunch preparations: washing apples, cutting tomatoes, making fruit salad, opening canned peach……. Around eleven o’clock, Mr. Zhou, the owner of the Rose Garden Chinese Restaurant, delivered the Chinese food ordered by the CAAM. Then, the thoughtful board members packed some food in lunch boxes in advance for the homeless people with compromised mobility and placed the rest of the warm food in incubators and some on the insulation table in the service area in front of the kitchen.
At 11:30 am, we opened the door of the activity center to the public, and many homeless came in one after another and lined up to receive free food in an orderly manner. The atmosphere was warm and lively. Under the careful arrangement of the CAAM, this ” Pre-Thanksgiving Free Lunch” event provided a variety of nutritiously-balanced delicious food, including vegetable spring rolls, chicken noodles, fried rice with eggs, salads, peaches, cookies, etc. Anyone who walked in received a free meal as above-mentioned food. Drinks (mainly milk and orange juice) were provided by the charity center in unlimited quantities. Some people walked up to the volunteers to express their gratitude before leaving the center: “It was very good. Thank you very much!” The joy on their faces were contagious and all volunteers were inspired.
At the end of the meal delivery, the administrator in charge of the charity center told us that they prepare three free meals every day for the local homeless to help them survive the winter, especially during the pandemic this year. The Chinese food provided by the CAMM offered them with more food options. There were a total of 246 homeless came to receive the free Chinese meal. This was the largest number of people so far receiving free meals in a day. The charity center was very grateful for this. In this regard, Mr. Ping Wang, president of the CAAM stated that the CAAM aims to provide various Chinese cultural and artistic exchanges including training, education and services for local Chinese and Chinese-Americans and other friends who care about and love Chinese culture. These activities are aimed to promote friendship and mutual assistance. The event of delivering Chinese food to the homeless before Thanksgiving is also adhering to this purpose.

This meal delivery event was coordinated by Mr. Ping Wang, as well as Vice President Guoqing Li, Secretary-General Zan Gao, Chief Financial Officer Lin Shu, Board of Directors Yanhua Wu (Representative of CAAM-CDT of Chinese American Dance School) and Rongsheng Wu (CAAM-CLS representative of Twin-Cities Chinese School). The 300 exquisite and delicious Chinese meals for this event were prepared by the Rose Garden Asian Bistro in Minneapolis.

The News Report on English newspaper China Insight can be downloaded here (pdf)

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