Donate to support Asian elderly with culturally thoughtful food packages, all sourced, cooked, and hand-delivered by volunteers.
Quick Links to Learn More about Heart of Dinner:
- Click here to visit Heart of Dinner's official website with more information including volunteering opportunities.
- Click here to watch Fortune's video "Aging Asian Americans face high rates of social isolation and poverty" and Heart of Dinner's work in addressing this directly
Heart of Dinner’s Story & Its Evolution
Dear Cherished Supporter,
Thank you for taking a moment to connect with our mission. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to share our incredible journey with you—a journey that began with a genuine concern for our beloved elderly Asian American community. In the midst of the challenging times brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the hardships faced by our elders, from food insecurity to intense loneliness and social isolation. The urgency to act became even more apparent when we learned that a staggering 28% of Asian American older adults in NYC live in poverty, surpassing the citywide average of 16%. It is crucial to understand that the pervasive "model minority" myth masks the very real challenges this community endures. This stereotype not only oversimplifies the diverse experiences within our community but also perpetuates harmful narratives, leaving many elders without the vital resources they need and leading to isolation and despair.
It is in these times that Heart of Dinner was born—a heartfelt response to nurture those who remind us of our own grandparents. We felt a deep calling to reassure our Asian American elders that they are cherished, seen, and valued beyond measure. For many of us, especially those with immigrant heritage, food holds a significance that goes far beyond sustenance. It is a profound gesture overflowing with love, respect, and cultural richness.
Our journey began in a humble 300 square-foot apartment on the cusp of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We transformed our home into a sanctuary of cultural resonance and dignified care for our Elders. Starting with homemade meals that brought back memories of comforting family dishes that our own grandparents loved to eat, paired with handwritten notes of love and joy on each to-go container. We soon expanded to providing comprehensive care packages.
These care packages are more than just food; they are filled with culturally thoughtful items like bok choy, bags of rice, and mung beans. And to add more layers of personal touch, we build care packages using bags that are uniquely hand-illustrated and attached with handwritten notes in our beneficiaries’ native languages to evoke a sense of home and connection. All notes and bags contributed by extraordinary volunteers from around the world!
None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of our community. Our champions, donors, partners, dedicated team, and extraordinary volunteers have been instrumental in our journey. We are incredibly honored to share that our journey from relief efforts to becoming a budding 501c3 public charity has been a labor of love, intention, and meticulous care. Carrying on our mission beyond the time of the Covid-19 pandemic holds a special place in our hearts, as it signifies our unwavering commitment to serving and uplifting our beloved elderly Asian American community.
Together, as of Summer 2023, we provided over 150,000 meals across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, reaching beneficiaries who live in significantly under-resourced and underinvested communities.
But our commitment doesn't stop there. In the next three years from 2024-2027, we have big plans to scale with care and intention. We're laying the groundwork for a strong and reliable delivery infrastructure, which will include a fleet of electric vehicles. But our efforts go beyond just logistics. We are investing in building out a dedicated deliveries team, ensuring that they are fully trained in Heart of Dinner's unique protocols and guidelines that set ourselves apart in paving way for dignified care. From the heartfelt notes and beautifully decorated bags to the careful selection of food ingredients and the meticulous assembly of our care packages, every step in our process is designed to warmly wrap our beloved Elders in love and support. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that every interaction with Heart of Dinner brings warmth and a sense of connection. By refining our process, we aim to increase our care package distributions by 25% and expand our presence to cover all five boroughs of New York. And as we nurture these roots, we also dream of extending our love and care on a national scale, introducing Heart of Dinner to California.
At the heart of Heart of Dinner is our mission to nourish souls, bridge generational gaps, and redefine the essence of care, connection, and community. While carrying out our cause, we believe in supporting local businesses, empowering individuals to support communities, and prioritizing sustainability, creating a ripple effect of positive change in our society.
We invite all of you to join us on this incredible journey. Together, we can reshape narratives and build a world where love, dignity, and sincere care are not just ideals, but fundamental human rights.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Yin Chang & Moonlynn Tsai
Founders, Heart of Dinner