Incredible Volunteers Organize Month-Long Food Crawl to Help NYC Chinatown

Incredible Volunteers Organize Month-Long Food Crawl to Help NYC Chinatown
Maina Chen
August 27, 2020
The nonprofit Send Chinatown Love (SCL) is rekindling business for New York City’s restaurants in Chinatown for the entire month of September.
Photo by Daniel Ahn
Its team of over 25 volunteers formed in May and they all share the same sentiment: to provide relief to small, Asian-immigrant owned businesses and prevent their beloved Chinatown from disappearing.
Chinatowns have long been formed out of necessity and from historical racism dating back through generations of anti-Asian sentiment. However, over the years, their culturally-rich locations were reclaimed and became known for its food and abundance of mom-and-pop shops. They have long been persisting, but due to the social and economic costs of COVID-19 since February, many stores have been forced to shutter their doors from the unprecedented drop in foot traffic and sales.
According to the Chinatown Partnership/Chinatown Business Improvement District (BID), 225 restaurants and cafes are currently open for takeout, with 104 out of those having applied for outdoor seating out of the 307 in the Chinatown area.
With a multifaceted team of engineers, designers, translators, creators and cultural ambassadors,” SCL creates digital platforms for “cash-only, pen-and-paper businesses that aren’t able to use most gift card, donation or app delivery solutions,” with the hope for these merchants to be self-sustaining in the future.
Through the team’s fundraising efforts such as their namesake GoFundMe, Gift A Meal program, and donation/voucher options, patrons can choose how much and which stores they would like to support. SCL’s current roster of supported merchants span from 12 restaurants and small businesses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island, and have currently raised over $60,000 as of this writing. They’ve also partnered these struggling merchants with local community groups such as Apex for Youth, La Jornada Food Pantry, and The Chinese-American Planning Council.
The need for the Food Crawl’s success weighs heavy after footage on Aug. 11 emerged of Mayor Bill de Blasio turning his back on Patrick Mock, 46 Mott Bakery’s manager, who pleaded for help for the Chinatown neighborhood. Patrick was already providing 200 free hot meals a day since April 20 to the homeless and elderly. SCL partnered with Patrick to release a video on the importance of showing the poverty situation within the Asian community and the importance of “Community helping community and neighbor helping neighbor.”

Louise Palmer, handling PR at SCL told NextShark, “[The] shop owners want work, not handouts.”
In order for the merchants to feel like business wasn’t being taken away from them, the Food Crawl is designed to bring back foot traffic to Chinatown and encourage the merchants who are trying to stay afloat that they matter and their business matters.
In a statement to NextShark SCL said: “Chinatown has so much to offer beyond just great eats, and we want to take this opportunity to highlight all of the different ways in which Chinatown has supported the greater NYC community.”
Photo by Daniel Ahn
“While this is a difficult time for all small businesses, we’ve gotten an outpouring amount of support from local partners like Jae Lee from Nowon, Eric Sze from 886, food influencers, and community organizations to uplift our Chinatown – it’s truly been amazing to see neighbors helping neighbors.”
Photo by Daniel Ahn
“The SCL family is inspired by this type of spirit every day. We know this year has not been easy, but 2020 has presented us a unique opportunity to come together and share in our common love for Chinatown and we hope everyone reading this will join us throughout the month of September!”
Photo by Daniel Ahn
The Food Crawl will last every day from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Manhattan Chinatown and will highlight 12 eateries: 46 Mott, Alimama, Grand Tea Imports, Happy Veggie Restuarant, Kuih Cafe, Noodle Village, Pinklady Cheese Tart, Tonii’s Fresh Rice Noodle, Wok Wok, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, QQ Cafe, Golden Fung Wong Bakery Shop, and Congee Village.
Patrons can earn rewards through SCL’s “Passport to Chinatown” rewards and weekly giveaways worth over $300 per session. Spending at least $5 at one of the 13 locations will allow guests to receive a Food Crawl Ticket. Once three of these tickets from three different vendors are obtained, then prizes can be redeemed, including future discounts on food and merchandise.
More details about the eateries, times, locations, COVID-19 precautions, giveaway partners, and Passport to Chinatown rewards can be found on SCL’s Facebook event page and the Food Crawl section on their website.
Featured Image via Send Chinatown Love (left) and Daniel Ahn (right)
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