Along with my sister, I am the co-owner of Mimi Cheng’s, a Taiwanese restaurant in NYC. March has been a real struggle for all small businesses, including ours. It was a tough decision to stay open, but we wanted to financially care for our team for as long as we could. However, our priorities shifted from normal business as soon as the situation here got increasingly dire. As COVID-19 cases increased in NY, we kept hearing first hand reports about how hospital cafeterias had either shut down or significantly cut their hours, leaving our frontline healthcare workers to eat from vending machines. These legends are already working 18-hour shifts, ill equipped and now malnourished. As a small family owned business with two locations, we have limited resources, but we turned to our community to raise money so that we could send free hot meals to different hospitals in the NY metro area.
We launched the gofundme a week ago and started directly taking meal requests from healthcare teams. The need has been overwhelming to say the least. We have over 100 inquiries from every single hospital in NYC and each inquiry is for a team of 50 to 100 people. By the grace of God, Verizon came across our gofundme on social media and asked to partner with us to send 300 meals out everyday until April 30th. Thanks to Verizon and gofundme donations, we are now committing ourselves to at least 350 to 450 meals per day, everyday of the week until this crisis is over or the government steps in. As we get more corporate partners, we hope to increase our output. We are especially targeting hospitals in disadvantaged areas that are not getting the same kind of sponsorships that Manhattan hospitals are. It’s been an enormous undertaking but also one that we’re honored to be a part of. We’ve had to completely rethink our process and our menu in order to meet the quantity needed. We were initially worried about not knowing how we’d physically make all of these meals in the very small time window required, but God kept impressing on our hearts the story of Joseph in Egypt during the famine, and the story of the fishes and loaves. We’ve been placed exactly where we are supposed to be, and as long as we are willing to be used (even if it seems daunting), God comes through.