Get to know Heart of Dinner, an organization of volunteerism for the Asian-American community serving love, compassion, and hope in NYC.
The pandemic has brought the world a lot of heartaches. For almost two years, it shut down the whole world. It tore families apart; it created a massive blockade of access to necessities and overthrew livelihood opportunities. Above all, the most despairing part of it is the mental and emotional repercussions it marked on millions of lives worldwide. The pandemic’s effects didn’t spare any age or disposition in life. But through kind hearts and selfless acts of kindness, a community of Asian-American elderlies in NYC has found consolation through the relief efforts of Heart of Dinner.
The Women Behind Heart of Dinner
Heart of Dinner was first established as a Supper Club in 2015, bringing people together for a shared meal and creating a safe space to uplift people. When the pandemic hit and took the world by storm, the real-life couple, Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang unfolded an initiative inspired by the Supper Club with a mission to support the vulnerable Asian-American elderly communities significantly impacted by the outcomes of the pandemic.
With Moonlynn and Yin sharing the same love for food and compassion, they started distributing their first-ever lunch packs around Manhattan Chinatown on April 1st, 2020. With the elderlies in their thoughts and hearts, challenged by more enforced racism and the exclusion of some of the necessities and rights, they have found a way to aid the community.
How It Started
Fueled by a mission to uplift, heal, and support the Asian-American elderly community, it was a start of a heartwarming story of love, compassion, and hope. Heart of Dinner started to bridge connections between restaurant partners, volunteers, and donors who have shared and aligned the same values of the initiative. From there, the movement has sustainably supported not only the elderly community but also the small and local businesses and crops of the Asian community to bring food and care packages around New York City.
Volunteerism is an Act of Love
Apart from the vision of delivering relief efforts to the elderly, Heart of Dinner greatly values the importance of giving solace to the community. Mental health is a subject that reaches levels of discernment but is rarely accepted and talked about with high regard. Thus, often stigmatized. As part of Heart of Dinner’s pursuit, the team is keen to provide a sense of belongingness, understanding, comfort, and acceptance to the community.
From the start of Moonlynn and Yin’s efforts in 2020, each food bag included a handwritten note that emotionally uplifted the elderlies. As the word spread about the initiative, hundreds of kindhearted volunteers, donors, and partners were inspired and motivated to join the program, curating hand-illustrated and thoughtfully curated meals and care bags with their notes. Today, Heart of Dinner has delivered over 100,00 packages, touched hundreds of lives of the Asian-American elder community, and inspired thousands of people with love stories through volunteering.
Join the Movement
Heart of Dinner continues to broaden its efforts to reach more communities so as the opportunity to extend a helping hand to the organization. There are five ways to reach out, connect, and participate in the action.
1. Deliver Care Packages
No matter what, every Wednesday of the week, the Heart of Dinner team delivers the packages door-to-door to the community for approximately 3-5 hours a day, depending on the routes. Here are the things you need to know:
Healthy and able to drive, deliver, and carry packages
Licensed to drive and have access to a car or willing to be paired with a driver
Available on Wednesday for 3-5 hours, depending on the route. Pickup of packages around 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM at Essex Market.
2. Hand-illustrate Care Packages
The organization is open to artists, illustrators, doodlers, and anyone with a passion for creatives to decorate care packages with uplifting and heartwarming illustrations. Click here for the full instructions.
3. Hand-write Notes for Care Packages
With every package including a personal note, Heart of Dinner welcomes volunteers to write notes in the native and English languages with illustrations from the volunteer writers’ imaginations.
4. Assemble Care Packages
With hundreds of packages coming out from Heart of Dinner’s headquarter, it is no wonder that the organization is seeking volunteers who can pack and assemble care packages. Ideally, they are looking for positive volunteers who can multitask, lift, transport goods, and more. Read here for more details.
5. Host a Fundraiser
With a growing number of volunteers for Heart of Dinner, its initiative is taken to another vision: raise funds by offering services, selling arts, and crafts, hosting classes, and much more. The volunteers are extensively finding ways to support the elderly community through Heart of Dinner. Find out how you can start a fundraising program at this link.
Make Handmade Marbled Cards For Heart of Dinner
As an AAPI, multicultural, and women-owned small business, Kits by Food Craft is one with Heart of Dinner in hopes for our Asian-American elderlies to have a better, safer, healthier world to live in. As part of our culture, we immensely value the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and the welfare of oneself, especially in these trying times.
As we take part in this initiative with Heart of Dinner, we encourage you to invite your team, friends, or families to collaborate with us through our virtual or in-person Suminagashi Card-Making event in NYC or Dallas-Fort Worth to create unique Suminagashi pieces and write words of encouragement in notes that we will send to Heart of Dinner for their care packages. Be a Big Heart. Reach us for more information.