Heart of Dinner Co-founders and romantic partners Yin Chang (actor-writer and founder of 88 Cups of Tea) and Moonlynn Tsai (restauranteur and co-owner/operator of Kopitiam) launched the #LOVINGCHINATOWN Covid-19 relief efforts initiative to counter the racism and isolation the Asian-American immigrant elderly have been experiencing throughout the pandemic.
What initially began as late-night conversations sharing concern over the global impact of the coronavirus and the heightened xenophobia and racism towards Asian-Americans, grew into wondering about the different ways people could lean into their humanity and provide positive change.
Through community-driven funding and generous donors, Heart of Dinner surpassed the first milestone of a 20,000 meal goal with the support of their community of restaurant partners, in-kind donors, volunteer care package delivery drivers, volunteer note-writers and brown bag illustrators.
Heart of Dinner continues to offset the isolation and depression caused by the pandemic with handwritten notes of encouragement in Chinese and Korean, paired with nourishing meals that fill the gap in food insecurity while supporting local small businesses during their Covid-19 related recovery process. Join Heart of Dinner in reaching their next goal of providing 50,000 collective meals by donating to their Go Fundme to assist in resources.
HEART OF DINNER TIMELINE
Fall 2015, Heart of Dinner began in Los Angeles, CA as a technology-free supper club aimed to bring a sense of connection and community over a rotating menu and heartfelt conversations.
Early March 2020, prior to mandated closures, Heart of Dinner launched the #LOVINGCHINATOWN food tours, an initiative aimed towards countering COVID-19 related xenophobia and racism by dispelling misinformation and stimulating resurgence of interest in supporting local small businesses in Chinatown. To flatten the curve, upcoming food tours were put on hold to resume when it is deemed safe to do so.
Mid-Late March 2020, to adapt quickly to the crisis and bridge the gap in COVID-19 related food insecurity in our Asian-American communities, Heart of Dinner pivoted the #LOVINGCHINATOWN intiative from food tours to a covid-relief efforts providing culturally thoughtful meals for elderly in the Asian-American immigrant communities throughout Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in New York. Began with research and outreach to multiple social services organizations during this time.
Early April 2020, Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai cooked the first-ever Heart of Dinner #LOVINGCHINATOWN hot lunches for those most vulnerable in/near the Chinatown area with a heavy focus on the homebound elderly. Every Wednesday moving forward, they scaled to provide hot lunches/dinners, care pacakages of fresh produce and pantry essentials, and cases of ingredients in collaboration with their restaurant partners, fresh produce distributor, and community of peer-to-peer donors, in-kind donors, volunteer note-writers and brown bag illustrator to reach their goal of providing 20,000 meals.
Early August 2020, Heart of Dinner reached the milestone of providing 20,000 collective meals of hot lunches/dinners, care packages of fresh produce and pantry essentials, and bulk ingredients!