BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- On this first day of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, there's a tremendous effort underway across the country and in the Bay Area to help the Asian community, hard hit by coronavirus-related discrimination and economic hardships from the novel coronavirus outbreak. "Feed Your Hospital" is helping more than just hospitals, but businesses as well and nourishing the community by making it a more inclusive place.
At Thai Table in Berkeley, dozens of brown take-out containers and plastic tubs are filled to the brim with fragrant dishes.
It's a welcome sight and reminder for owner, Tumi McGee of life pre-pandemic. Tumi, who has owned a catering company called Thai Rice Spoon for years, opened Thai Table in 2019. The catering side has seen more than 30 events postponed until 2021 since the shelter-in-place took effect.
The restaurant side is just getting by with reduced hours.
But perhaps even more special than being busy during a time when 30,000 restaurants in California could close permanently, is the mission behind the meals.
"Fifty percent of Asian restaurants are now closed and are not going to re-open again...they are vulnerable as front line workers, and they are vulnerable because of their race," says Livia Ching, ASCEND's West Coast Executive Director.
Thai Table is the first restaurant in the Bay Area to participate in an effort called "Feed Your Hospital."
Ascend, America's largest non-profit pan-asian organization for professionals, partnered with the nationwide philanthropic group after recognizing how Asians were impacted by the shelter in place and xenophobia.
Data from the stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center shows 1,500 Coronavirus-related discrimination incidents in a month across the country and hundreds of incidents in just the Bay Area. Feed Your Hospital aims to show the positive impact being made by Asians Americans.
"Hopefully that eases some of the tension that a lot of the healthcare, Asian healthcare workers and community is feeling right now," says ASCEND NorCal board member Kats Furuyama.
To date in the United States, Feed Your Hospital has worked with 20 Asian restaurants to deliver 4,500 meals to more than 40 hospitals. In the Bay Area, the first delivery of 100 meals went to Oakland's Highland Hospital this week with more planned in the near future.
Organizers say the effort to break down barriers and connecting with comforting food will long continue even after the pandemic is over.
"That is our vision for the Pan Asian voice to be heard and awareness of what we're doing is everything intentionally good," smiles Ching.
Feed Your Hospital can't exist without community support. Donations can be made here: https://www.feedyourhospital.org/norcal
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