AsiaTown Food Initiatives Benefit the Community as Local Businesses Reopen

Ray Hom

In a concerted effort to reinvigorate Asian-owned small businesses, as well as provide social benefits for the community, the AsiaTown team with MidTown Cleveland, Inc., has launched Feed AsiaTown.

Feed AsiaTown

Feed AsiaTown is an initiative whereby a bulk order of 100 meals is ordered from a locally owned AsiaTown restaurant to provide free meals to folks in need in the community. Feed AsiaTown partnered with various AsiaTown restaurants on a rotating basis each week in June. With the support of the Cleveland Foundation and the Greater Cleveland COVID Rapid Response Fund, MidTown Cleveland covered the cost of the meals in full to support the restaurants and their staff.

This initiative provides benefits on multiple fronts to meet the goals of restarting the local economy including:

  1. An opportunity for small business owners to give back to the community.
  2. Creating awareness that the locally owned businesses have reopened their doors.
  3. Bringing back loyal employees who are depending on their salaries and tips.
  4. These paid employees will then be able to revitalize the retail industry.
  5. Support families and elderly residents in need, while connecting the community through a physically distanced community meal. Many members of the community are afraid to leave their homes or may have minimal social interaction with friends, and this provides an opportunity to share a meal together, even if physically separated.

Special thanks to participating restaurants for their dedicated time and energy to prepare packaged meals for the community. Past participants include Emperor’s Palace, Wonton Gourmet & BBQ, Pho Lee’s, Map of Thailand, and Szechuan Café. The goal is to be able to rotate to 20 of the AsiaTown restaurants. We are hoping that these bulk orders help make up some of the lost revenue due to the pandemic.

Anyone in need is welcome to pick up a free meal every Thursday from 12pm to 1pm, or until meals run out. For a schedule and updates, please visit www.asiatowncleveland.org/feed-asiatown.

Sweet Hearts 洲城甜点如心

In addition, four (4) AsiaTown residents, interested in supporting the community, launched another initiative, AsiaTown Sweet Hearts 洲城甜点如心. These individuals lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and discovered their love and talent for baking. So, they decided to share their passion with the community and their neighbors. Other volunteers wrote handwritten notes to let seniors know that they are an integral part of the community and that we are all thinking of them during these challenging times.

The four Sweet Hearts residents won a grant from Neighborhood Connections of the Cleveland Foundation, to be able to bake homemade desserts and provide care packages with masks, gloves, and census information to neighbors. AsiaTown residents were able to sign up to receive a care package and/or send them to their friends, family, and neighbors.

Deliveries were made throughout the community on June 13-14 and June 20-21. These home bakers made 140 sweet taro pastries and 140 sponge cakes, while volunteers filled tote bags and delivered them to residents and workers.

Specials thanks to all the volunteers who participated in this initiative. In these challenging times, it is refreshing to see the community come together.

Hopefully one day soon we’ll all be able to enjoy large gatherings again, and look forward to attending the successful Night Markets in AsiaTown. For now, you don’t have to miss out on the variety of Asian cuisine offered in AsiaTown because many have reopened or are offering online ordering and delivery/pick up.

A word of thanks and appreciation to MidTown Cleveland, especially to Karis Tzeng and Xinyuan Cui for their creativity and leadership on these initiatives.