2021 Pre-Thanksgiving Free Lunch to the Homeless at Dorothy Day Place

Reported by Zan Gao and Yingying Chen


Reported by Zan Gao and Yingying Chen

Although the COVID cases surge in the state recently, the Chinese

Association of Minnesota (CAAM) adhered to its tradition of more
than 30 years and delivered a “Pre-Thanksgiving Free Lunch” at the Dorothy
Day Place of Catholic Charities in St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, on
November 21st (Sunday). This was the second time CAAM served the
homeless under the pandemic. Nearly 250 homeless enjoyed a warm and
delicious Chinese lunch.
This meal delivery event was coordinated by Mr. Ping Wang, with the
assistance from Vice President Guoqin Li, Secretary-General Zan Gao,
Treasurers Lin Shu and Li Tang, Board of Directors Yanhua Wu (CAAM CDT
representative of Chinese American Dance Theater), and Gang Ji (CAAM
CLS representative of Twin-Cities Chinese Language School), as well as
several volunteers (Xia Liu, Qiang Fang, Shi Peng). The 300 exquisite and
delicious Chinese meals for this event were prepared by the Rose Garden
Asian Bistro in Minneapolis.
It was a relatively warmer winter as compared to that of last year. Although
there was chilly wind, the sunshine swept every corner of St. Paul. Around
nine o’clock in the morning, the CAAM board members and volunteers arrived
at the kitchen of the charity center and started various lunch preparations:
washing and cutting pears, cutting carrots, tomato and broccoli, making fruit
salad, etc. Around 10:30am, Mr. Zhou, the owner of the Rose Garden
Chinese Restaurant, and his wife delivered the Chinese food ordered by the
CAAM. Then, the thoughtful board members packed and delivered 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 11:40 am, the staff 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, fried rice with eggs, chicken noodles, salads, pears, cookies, etc.

Everyone who walked in received a free meal as above-mentioned food. Milk
and orange juice were also provided by the charity center in unlimited
quantities. Some homeless walked up to the volunteers to express their
gratitude before leaving the center: “It was very delicious. Thank you very
much!” “It was much better than American food!” 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 said that they prepare three free meals every day for the local
homeless to help them survive the long winter. The Chinese food provided by
the CAMM offered them with more food options. There were nearly 250
homeless came to receive the free Chinese meal. The leftovers were used as
part of the dinner for the homeless. The charity center was very grateful for
CAAM’s charitable offerings over the years. 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.

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