Chinese volunteers make the homeless feel at home

Updated: 2015-02-24 12:09

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0
Chinese volunteers make the homeless feel at home

Stan Tsai (right), of the Organization of Chinese Americans, stands with other volunteers at the Shepherd's Table in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Monday night. Sheng Yang / For China Daily

It's not the first time that Stan Tsai has served homeless people at Shepherd's Table, a charity organization in Silver Spring, Maryland. Chinese New Year has been celebrated at the charity for several years.

"We have celebrated the Spring Festival with people here for six years, hoping that we could share our happiness of reunion with the homeless," Tsai, vice-president of public affairs with the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), told China Daily on Monday night.

The dining room was festooned with red lanterns, a symbolic decoration for good luck, and also Chinese folk music, together with Chinese food, such as the American invention General Tso's chicken, along with braised pork and corn soup.

About 200 homeless people took part in the Chinese feast.

Tsai said they worked to bring warmth to the people, especially in a bone-chilling winter.

"I want to let them know we are with them," he said.

Jacki Coyle, executive director, had retired from a charity fund in Baltimore 10 years ago before joining Shepherd's Table, where dinner has been served seven nights a week since 1983.

Coyle said she was glad to see the Chinese community helping, because it's "always a challenge to raise money" for people on the margins.

"A big help for the clients here," she said.

Scotty Arnold, a former police officer, volunteers as a cook three days a week.

"It taught me humanity, patience and mutual understanding," he said.

Marc Elrich, a council member of the Montgomery County government, who also assisted at the event, said it was his first time celebrating Chinese New Year in such a fashion.

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.