The line to the ACRS Food Bank.  • Photo by Travis Quezon
The line to the ACRS Food Bank. • Photo by Travis Quezon

Last Friday, November 22, people of all ages and backgrounds smiled and chatted in a line that ran for a block in the International District along S. King Street under the freeway overpass. Throughout the day, over 500 people showed up to the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) Food Bank for a donated meal that included a roasted chicken, rice, tofu, and fresh produce.

The effort was led by philanthropists Jerry Lee and Cordell Lui, who wanted to deliver substantial, warm meals to ACRS Food Bank clients. This is the fourth year they have been hosting the chicken donation.

Lee said that he was planning to organize only one chicken donation this year, but that he had received such an outpouring of donated money that he had enough for another.

“So I sent an email out [to donors] at dinner time, and by the time I woke up in the morning we had more than enough [people committed to money to buy the chickens] for Thanksgiving,” Lee said. “By the time 24 hours came along, we had enough for two days. I said to myself, ‘I know I said one day but I guess we’ll do Thanksgiving and Christmas.’ And the way the money is coming in, we’ll have enough for Chinese New Year, too.”

Lee and Lui are planning on distributing another round of roasted chickens on December 20 to help families through the holiday season.

“You know that’s everybody here, they just want to help,” Lee said.

About 20 people volunteered to help with getting the food out, Friday, many who had volunteered in previous years.

“It’s a time of need,” said Katherine Cheng, who had volunteered at the chicken donations for several years. “It’s sad to see how many people need food. So to be able to do this, it’s just fulling to be able to give people a little something. It’s just a small thing, though, and I wish we could do more.”

Student Jarrid Nakata was also a returning volunteer.

“I did this last year, and I just really enjoyed it,” Nakata said. “It’s just really good to be giving back. I still feel like I could be doing a lot more, though.”

For more information on how to volunteer, call ACRS at (206) 695-7600.

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