Dear Heart of Dinner Family,
What a year 2020 was— filled with grief and heartbreak for so many, yet throughout the crisis of a pandemic, each and every one of you showed up for us and our homebound Po Po’s, Gong Gong’s, Ah Ma’s and Ah Gong’s with tangible contributions that provided us the needle-moving impact to continue operating and providing care, love, nutrition, and sustenance for our senior recipients.
What started as late-night conversations in our bedroom bouncing ideas back and forth, faces filled with determination, and a fast and furious run to grocery stores to gather food and provide them for our neighbors along with a wide array of books for them to choose and keep, to then the following week calling around and having discussions with different social services organizations to learn more about the food insecurity, to the following week cooking the very first Heart of Dinner’s #LovingChinatown hot lunches in our 250 sq.ft. apartment for those most vulnerable around Manhattan's Chinatown.
To steadily, over the following 40 Wednesday’s throughout the span of 9 months, evolve with the instrumental help of a growing community of donors, restaurant partners, collaborators, and volunteers where we are now reaching our elderly throughout Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens and providing fresh produce that our elderly love, all packed in community-illustrated brown bags attached with handwritten notes— all to show our elderly that we care not only for their nutrition and sustenance, but for the well-being of their mind and their soul.
As of our latest impact measure, your donations have helped us:
•Direct over $180,000 to local businesses
•Deliver 46,845 meals
•Serve 1,500 elderly weekly
•Bring over 3,500 volunteers together
And let’s not forget, thanks to your contributions and our incredible lawyer, Vivian Chen, we evolved into an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization!
Excited to share some news with you below—
NEW WEBSITE ANNOUNCEMENT
Guess what?! We’ve got a brand new website that reflects and conveys the story of Heart of Dinner, who we are, what we stand for, and our community efforts (more updates will be made to the site in the next month!) https://www.heartofdinner.org/
Our heartfelt gratitude to our volunteer team who brought our dream-site to life:
Marisa Aveling (Copy)
Alex Lau (Photo)
Jin Xia (Illustration)
Nicole Yeo (Design)
We have officially transitioned over to our brand new website to continue our fundraising efforts and provide a platform that allows for monthly donations. We have disabled our Go Fundme campaign to keep the flow of our donations streamlined and organized for efficiency. If you’d love to continue supporting us, please make a donation at https://www.heartofdinner.org/
All donations that we received through our Go Fundme campaign from 8/17/20 and onwards are able to receive our donation receipts due to our 501(c)(3) status being retroactive to that date of incorporation. If you would like a donation receipt, please email [email redacted] by the deadline Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 11pm EST (8pm PST).
We’ve answered a bunch of frequently asked questions over on our site (including volunteer opportunities, company matches, mailing checks, etc.) Please visit https://www.heartofdinner.org/contact
Guess what?! We birthed a Covid baby! A coffee-baby, that is. We came together with our phenomenal women-business owner friends at Coffee Project New York to collaborate on a custom roast coffee where 100% of the proceeds directly fund Heart of Dinner. To check it out, visit https://www.heartofdinner.org/product-page/heart-of-dinner-x-coffee-project
Though we’ve closed our chapter here on Go Fundme, and what a beautiful chapter it was, we would love for you to continue checking in on our journey over at Instagram.com/heartofdinner. We are setting up a newsletter soon, so in the meantime, follow us on Instagram and we’ll announce the newsletter once it’s ready!
Thank you for joining us in warming the hearts of our Ah Ma’s and Ah Gong’s. Thank you for giving us hope each and every day throughout this most challenging year. Thank you for showing us the magic of community and what it means to be there for each other. We love you all and are grateful to have you by our side as we continue forward in caring for our elderly. Wishing you a very happy holidays and the most wonderful start to 2021!
With all our love,
Yin & Moonlynn
Join us in ending hunger and isolation for low-income Asian-American homebound elderly where we source, cook, and deliver culturally appropriate meals paired with handwritten letters and heartwarming illustrations.
Did you know $20 will feed an elderly recipient for 2-3 days in various forms of meals like hot lunch or dinner, care packages of popular fresh produce ingredients commonly found in Asian immigrant households, and/or cases of fresh produce and pantry essentials? We've even heard that our groceries have provided meals that last up to 4-5 days.
Watch "Love, Chinatown" below to learn about HEART OF DINNER and the origin story of the #LOVINGCHINATOWN initiative, filmed during the peak of the pandemic throughout the Spring. Directed by Karen Yung. A Greener Media production.
We're in the process of turning our relief efforts hub into an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization to enable us to continue providing comfort and nourishment for those most vulnerable throughout Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in New York with a heavy focus on the homebound elderly through meals and acts of kindness. We are especially reminded of our immigrant grandparents who would have had difficulty asking for help during these times because of language and cultural barriers and we do this work in honor of all of our grandparents.
UPDATE OF TIMELINE:
•Wednesday, October 7th, we've provided 30,123 collective meals of culturally thoughtful and senior-friendly hot lunches and popular, in-demand groceries commonly found in Asian immigrant households.
•Sunday, September 27th, our amazing lawyer helped set us up into an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization a few months ago and the latest update about this is that we're waiting to receive one final documentation. As soon as we receive this paperwork, all donations moving forward will be tax-exempt. Please consider having your companies match donations as that would help us tremendously in continuing our work. We will post an update as SOON as we get the green light for tax-exempt donations! Thank you, KINDLY, for your patience with this!
•If you would like to mail us a check, please write the check out to HEART OF DINNER and mail to 130 Lafayette Street, #32, New York, NY 10013
•Wednesday, September 23rd, we've provided 27,671 collective meals of culturally thoughtful and senior-friendly hot lunches and popular, in-demand groceries commonly found in Asian immigrant households.
•Wednesday, August 12th, our new immediate goal is to provide a total of 50,000 meals (with an eventual goal to reach 100,000 meals!)
•Wednesday, August 5th, we surpassed our 20,000 meal goal and provided 21,069 over a span of 19 Wednesdays beginning on April 1st. This was all possible directly because of your generous contributions, thank you for providing meals for our elderly!
(Photo of the elderly residents we provided our first-ever Heart of Dinner #LovingChinatown meals on April 1st, 2020. Courtesy of the Chinese-American Planning Council.)
•ZAGAT article "Moonlynn Tsai And Yin Chang On Serving The Elderly And Fighting Pandemic Racism: Bringing meals to those in need while overcoming the dual challenges of COVID and prejudice."
•TIME article "BIPOC Entrepreneurs Have Been Hit Hard by the Pandemic—But as They Work to Save Their Businesses, They're Also Giving Back"
•TODAY SHOW segment "Meet 2 women providing hot meals to elderly Asian Americans in their community: Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang are a couple who founded Heart of Dinner in order to feed hot, home-cooked meals to elderly Asian Americans in their community. Watch as they share the inspiration behind their important mission."
•THE WALL STREET JOURNAL article "What a Restaurateur Wants to Eat on Her Day Off (When She Has One)
Moonlynn Tsai shares her favorite ingredients for flavor and health, how she feeds her friends in the industry and why her cooking is always about community. Plus: a recipe for Taiwanese tomato egg."
•THEM article "Out on the Frontlines: This Queer Couple Is Feeding NYC’s Chinese Elders With a Loving Touch: Through Heart of Dinner, Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang are delivering 1,100 meals and care packages a week to NYC’s vulnerable Chinese population, with heartwarming messages of love attached."
•VICE article "People Are Writing Notes to Comfort Elderly Asian New Yorkers: Asian seniors in NYC are facing isolation and xenophobia. Heart of Dinner, a new community relief effort, is delivering them hot meals and handwritten notes of love."
•NEW YORK TIMES piece "Providing food to older Asian people in New York with a personal touch."
•To read an article in WORLD JOURNAL 世界日報 highlighting our efforts, please click here.
(Photo of the elderly residents Heart of Dinner provided meals for on April 15th in partnership with Helen Nguyen of Saigon Social: Photo courtesy of the Chinese-American Planning Council. )
From conversations we've had with various social services organizations, we've learned how quickly the landscape of needs shift and change on a near day-to-day basis. Your continued contributions allow us to adapt and scale to meet the needs of various organizations and continue providing meals for the underserved in densely populated Asian neighborhoods like our elderly and members in our community with disabilities.
Ongoing donations allow us to scale with restaurant partners to produce more hot lunches, and source ingredients directly from local food distributors to continue providing produce and pantry essentials for our Po-Po and Gong-Gong senior recipients, and nourish them for the long-term.
Curious about the kinds of meals we make? We take the time to select ingredients that are nutritious. For one of the meals, we made a healthy brown rice porridge topped with stir-fried eggs with tomatoes and scallions, grilled oyster mushrooms, and crunchy daikon. This dish is reminiscent of what our grandparents would make in Taiwan and we wanted to provide as much comfort as there is nourishment.
During the calls with the organizations, we've also learned that the general isolation and loneliness have been a critical pain point for many. As much as we nourish our recipients with meals, we provide the same kind of sustenance for their hearts and their minds. We collect handwritten notes of encouragement and support in Chinese or Korean, and they are stapled to the brown bags that we distribute to volunteers who hand-illustrate each bag.
We have been working closely with our community of supporters and donors, inviting them to join us with these details.
If you’d love to join us in writing notes to the elderly, please click here: https://www.heartofdinner.com/notes
If you'd love to join us in illustrating our brown bags, please click here: https://www.heartofdinner.com/bags
Thank you, most sincerely, for your generosity. We could not do this without our community.
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