Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang, Creating Heart of Dinner
Heart of Dinner (formerly Table to Table NYC) started as an initiative to create more heart-to-heart conversations through privately hosted dinner parties and food tours. They also used this platform as a way to educate and shed some light onto local mom-and-pop shops in Chinatown but has since developed into a community relief hub donating hot lunches to different non-profit and local organizations.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurateur Moonlynn Tsai, who co-owns Kopitiam NYC, alongside her partner, Yin Chang, actor, and founder of 88 Cups of Tea, created Heart of Dinner as a way stand in solidarity with the Asian community and work to fight stigma and discrimination that has occurred in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through partnering with local organizations that work closely with nursing homes and senior centers, Tsai and Chang have been donating home-cooked meals to “those most vulnerable in/near the Chinatown area with a heavy focus on the homebound elderly,” and used Tsai’s Kopitiam storefront as a temporary hub for local relief. These efforts have garnered the attention of many, with different restaurant owners co-hosting and donating to these efforts, and many individuals in NYC helping the couple write handwritten notes for each delivery. With the goal of providing up to 20,000 meals, the project has raised over $80,000 on GoFundMe and has brought awareness to those in the areas that are impacted.
“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. We also provide meals for the staff of organizations and facilities who have dedicated their efforts to providing support for the residents and neighbors in densely populated Asian communities like Chinatown.” – Heart of Dinner Website
There have also been other notable restaurants that have pivoted into helping their community through food. Bopomofo Cafe, a boba store in California and local Seattle Anju Bar and Eatery are using their kitchens for a meal drive, cooking food for healthcare workers. Other restaurants in Seattle like Ba Bar are giving back to the community as well. There are also many other restaurants nationwide, dedicated to these efforts.