We have reached a milestone. Since February 28, 2020 to today, we have distributed $1,000,000 worth of food and personal care items. In approximately 5 months since we started we have hit the $1,000,000 mark.
It gets even better for August and beyond. We will reach $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 PER MONTH starting in August. There is so much good food that can be captured. We just need more trucks and drivers. We are actively looking.
We haven’t updated our website in a long time because we’ve been doing so much administrative work and the real labor of distributing food. We have partnered with a couple of dozen BIPOC organizations in LA and Orange Counties.
We have been able to distribute so much food that historically ignored or dramatically underserved communities have a little excess. We know that there is still growing need.
Our distribution partners (orgs who pick up free food from us) include Black orgs such as Keys to The Streets and Agape Church (network of several Black churches). Latinx orgs such as the National Day Laborers Organizing Network and Helping Hands. As well as Central American churches. Indigenous orgs such as My Cielo and Tataviam Mission Native Americans.
We continue our partnerships with API organizations.
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The Korean word “ajumma” means “married woman” or it connotes a middle aged woman. In working class and low income neighborhoods, ajummas take on roles as caregivers and community stewards. Yet, they are rarely given material resources directly. They show up quietly to help while being ignored by white and BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) patriarchies and the women who sit adjacent to the men in power.
We want to amplify the work of working women in our BIPOC communities through our “Ajumma Cares Initiative”. She exists in all BIPOC communities under various nomenclatures. She’s the neighborhood aunty and tia too.
You can find her at churches, grassroots community organizations, and various local meetings. She shows up a lot. She shows up to help. You can find her during times of crisis. She’s the one with the sad and urgent look on her face because she knows her people and others are suffering. Very often, she was marginalized while growing up or she has a marginalized child. She has witnessed multiple times of crisis when her people were overlooked for aid. She has heard the same hollow promises and rhetoric before. The announcements of big aid that almost never reach the poorest of the poor.
Asian Americans for Housing also helps others help others. We want to amplify, elevate, and give material resources to more ajummas, aunties, and tias from Boyle Heights, Koreatown, South Central Los Angeles, and beyond. They have helped us identify and give direct aid to low income BIPOC seniors who are isolated. The oldest of the old with no children or family. People in their 80s and 90s who live alone in nooks and crannies allover Los Angeles.
Help us continue our collective work by donating to Asian Americans for Housing.
Asian Americans for Housing does our own outreach and distribution in Chinatown. All of the organizations in Chinatown cannot cover all the outreach and distribution necessary in Chinatown and there is some diversity of low income seniors in Chinatown that need to be served.
We work with the following organizations and we do our own outreach and distribution.
API Forward Movement distributes CSA bags in Chinatown to 58 low income seniors. We supplement their distribution with our food care packages or prepared meals when we can.
We partner with SEACA and CCED to supplement their care packages with hot meals purchased from struggling Chinatown restaurants or prepared meals we make at Revolutionario North African Tacos in South Central LA.
Yes, we know Peter of Chinatown Services Center.
We estimate that approximately 2000 low income residents of Chinatown have not been outreached to and are in need of urgent direct aid.
We donated 420 meals and 239 cups of instant ramen to low income Chinese seniors in Chinatown last week.
Asian Americans for Housing works with Chancee of Thai CDC. We fund purchases at struggling Thai restaurants and distribute through Thai CDC’s database of struggling, low income Thai seniors in North Hollywood/Sun Valley and Hollywood.
Little Tokyo Services Center picking up ingredients from Asian Americans for Housing’s Food Bank. LTSC is a well established nonprofit. We just like to say, “Hi, we’re here for you if you need something or we’ll reach out again when we have material resources that you might need.”
A lot of people assume that all Japanese Americans and Korean Americans are doing well or that our groups are doing well enough to automatically take care of our own. This isn’t always true. We have problems too and it’s nice to ask us if we’re doing okay.
Mo Nishida and his wife, Misako in Chinatown. Asian American seniors do not all live in their own enclaves. They live in other Asian American enclaves and outside of Asian American enclaves.
We try order as often as we can from Fugetsu-do because they’re are a cultural icon and important part of Japanese American heritage in Little Tokyo. All the East Asian seniors think of Japanese mochi and manju has a special treat. We like to treat our seniors well.
Asian Americans for Housing’s policy is to reach out to existing grassroots, community driven Asian American and BIPOC organizations first to see where we can provide supplemental and complementary direct aid. We seek to fill gaps, cracks, and also do a lot of work at the fringes and borders.
Within in Koreatown, we work with KYCCLA.org in varying degrees. Our partnerships are fluid, malleable, and evolve with changing needs, emerging needs, and anticipated needs.
Asian Americans for Housing’s direct outreach and direct aid programs for low income seniors is also hyper-local to Korean seniors in our own Food Bank neighborhood. We distribute in University Park, Pico-Union, Jefferson Park, Adams-Normandie, West Adams, and environs. We seek out low income Korean seniors at all the borders and fringes of Koreatown. We also seek out low income Asian seniors that are not served within Asian American enclaves and outside of Asian American enclaves.
Asian Americans for Housing does our own outreach and distribution; and we also partner with other Asian American grassroots organizations to supplement their distribution.
Thank you, Mutual Trading Company, for donating a small SUV’s worth of frozen foods almost every week.
One donation of .52 Pallet of cup ramen (800 units)
Two donations of 100 bottles.
We reached out Diep Tran to order cases of Red Boat fish sauce (the purest fish sauce on earth). We had funds set aside, but Red Boat insists on sponsoring. We gave then an estimate of at-risk, on-the-brink Viet seniors in Orange County and they said, “BRING IT.”
We have very positive conversations with city council offices and the 15 NC’s that encompass South Central LA. We will update as news breaks. We are very energetically hopeful that this initiative will get additional funding.
Our organization started by helping 25 unhoused Korean seniors, then 50 unhoused Korean seniors, the 70 at-risk, on the brink Korean seniors who live in section-8 housing. There are many low income Korean seniors who live in the southern edge of Koreatown and near USC.
We call this our “Food Triage Kit” for food insecure Korean seniors. We usually one or two packs of tofu, some eggs, and a couple of quarts of Korean soup or stew. If they ask for rice, we give them a 7 lb bag of rice. Rice and kimchi are usually the last things that Korean seniors run out of. If they say that they don’t have rice, then circumstances are getting severe. If they are completely out of kimchi, then circumstances are extreme.
We’ve been buying regularly from Fugetsu-do in Little Tokyo. The owner, Brian Kito, also does community watch. Little Tokyo has an aging population and we want to take care of our seniors. We help others help others.
When there was a call for Japanese American seniors in need, we replaced the fermented Korean soy bean paste with packs of miso.
When there was an urgent call for Chinese American seniors in need, we took out the fermented bean paste soup base all together. And we add some mochi and manju from Fugetsu-do.
We have another initiative in LA for buying from Korean and Japanese rice cake shops and Chinese bakeries to add treats for our deliveries to our seniors. We also order from struggling Asian owned restaurants for our seniors.
Asian seniors do enjoy eating other Asian foods. It takes local knowledge to understand and cater to the preferences.
AA4H does most of the Korean senior intake ourselves and with our partners like KIWA and API Forward Movement (they also have Pan-Asian staff). We also work with Korean community members like ajummas and halmonis who are busy bodies. We talk to pastors who do street outreach. We talk to Korean American social workers. We ask around in the community.