[FLUSHING, New York] – The Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) received a $50,000 donation from long-time donor Dow Kim to continue the successful Food Giving Program that began in May at the height of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in response to the needs of KAFSC’s survivors and their children. This is in addition to the $50,000 donation from the Dow Kim Family Foundation that initiated this important program. In the midst of a pandemic in late April, Mr. Kim first approached KAFSC with the idea of helping both the struggling Korean restaurants and KAFSC survivors and children.
KAFSC’s second round of the Food Giving Program will begin next week with several local Korean banchan/catering stores in Queens and Palisades Park. KAFSC survivors will receive Food Certificates that can be redeemed at these stores for a variety of kimchi, banchan (side dishes), soups/stews, and entrees. Developing the Food Certificate to be redeemed at Korean banchan/catering stores in NYC and NJ allows our survivors and children to select food that best meets their dietary needs, nutritional needs, and personal preferences as well as offering variety.
The first round of the Food Giving Program partnered with seven local Korean restaurants to provide ethnically familiar meals to not only uplift families and individuals who are facing immense physical, mental, and financial distress but also to support Korean restaurant owners who are navigating the devastating impact of COVID-19 with loss of business and income. This initiative brought together many stakeholders in the community, motivating individuals to both volunteer and donate to this cause. Together with the initial donation from the Dow Kim Family Foundation, KAFSC raised more than $90,000 for this program which provided 5,700 meals to our survivors and their children. For 15 weeks, 25 volunteers drove more than 7,200 miles across New York and New Jersey, accumulating more than 500 volunteer hours. Our partnership with Atoboy, Danji, Hanjan, Handsome Rice, Jua, Kochi, and Soogil helped to sustain their operations throughout the economic shutdown and supported more than 30 restaurant staff.
“After the end of the initial Food Giving Program, KAFSC conducted a needs assessment with our community and discovered that only 32 percent of our participants had long-term employment. Many who went back to work have had their hours reduced or have lost their livelihood as small businesses continue to be impacted by COVID-19,” said Jeehae Fischer, Executive Director. “In addition, 95 percent of the participants responded that they would like to participate in the initiative again if KAFSC offers the program.” The extension of the Food Giving Program is in response to KAFSC’s needs assessment and is made possible through the generosity of Dow Kim. The Dow Kim Family Foundation is engaged in philanthropic activities for the sole purpose of helping to better and empower the lives of Korean Americans in areas of education, social services, and arts & culture. “It has been a privilege to work with KAFSC, its volunteers, and donors during this unprecedented period to help bring the Korean American community closer together and to play a part in helping the struggling small businesses, families, and children get through this time. I hope that able and willing donors and volunteers will continue to support this critically needed program,” said Dow Kim. As a solid supporter of KAFSC, Dow and his Family Foundation have donated and pledged nearly $500,000 to the organization in the past two years.
“Although KAFSC serves individuals in the Tri-state area the majority of our survivors and their families are based in Queens and Bergen County, New Jersey where KAFSC offices are located. The shift in our Food Giving Program to operate in Flushing and Bergen County with local Korean banchan/catering stores is evidence of our desire to always adapt and improve our programs and services to best serve our community members,” said Esther Limb, Chair, KAFSC Board of Directors. “Our renewed efforts, thanks to the generosity of Dow Kim, will ensure that our survivors and their children will be supported throughout the long road to recovery and towards financial stability.”