The Chinatown Merchants Association in San Francisco is calling on donations to replace the iconic red lanterns that were destroyed during the recent storms.
The red lanterns, which were put up by the association over a decade ago, have become a symbol of Chinatown that has drawn many tourists.
In partnership with the nonprofit BeChinatown, the Chinatown Merchants Association launched a GoFundMe page in hopes of getting new lanterns to set up before the summer. Jenny Chan, the associate director of the association, wrote:
The hail and wind from the atmospheric river in San Francisco have left the famous lanterns on Grant Ave. in shreds. The red lanterns have become just as important as the dragon gate. The small businesses and residents of Chinatown love the red lanterns as they make the area unique and beautiful.
The lanterns previously provided a sense of security for those who reside and work in Chinatown.
As residents have long voiced concern for their safety amid the anti-Asian hate crimes, the lanterns had provided the dark streets with “much-needed illumination at night.”
“Many of our merchants in the association are immigrants, and their stores are all they have,” Chan said. “The lanterns allow more lighting so the security cameras can better capture footage at night and serve as a safety measure for an underserved minority community.”
According to Chan, a strand of lanterns costs roughly $1,000, with each lantern costing about $150.
San Francisco’s Chinatown will reportedly need to replace three blocks worth of lights. Chan expressed hopes that people will “consider adopting a lantern.”
“The red lanterns are a symbol of love and hope, and actually, prosperity,” Eva Lee, the Chinatown Merchants Association board of director, told ABC7 News.
“Everyone knows these iconic red lanterns, so if they would like, they can go to GoFundMe and make a donation. We would be very happy, and we’re working out details for a raffle prize, and they can look at our website for more details.”
Chan also noted that donors have the chance to win a community dinner with Chef Martin Yan and Miss California. The fundraiser has received $9,111 of its $10,000 goal as of this writing.