A Day on the Street



20130501-CIMG0066It isn’t often that you get to see pure happiness cross the face of a disenfranchised person. Today we introduced a Cantonese translator to our hungry Chinese folk and they were delighted! For one of the very few times, we were able to communicate with them and learn something about them. For months we have been feeding these folks and trying to understand their needs. They arrive at our feeding site ‘en masse’ with their shopping carts. Some have already been to other ‘give-away’ food hubs in the city. Ever grateful for a hot meal, they appear pleased with our efforts to feed them. With our translator, we finally learned their names and a bit of their ‘backstory’. We asked how they got here and how they manage to live.


Many hesitated to give us too much information but they told us a few basic facts. They immigrated from China years ago. A majority of them are from Guangdong province in southern China. They came here to start a new life or to be with their children. Since many of them are retired or unemployed, they live in nearby subsidized housing; they feel no need to learn our language. Whenever they need help in communicating, they call their children to take care of the problem. Few are lucky enough to be able to return to China to visit family and relatives but all think of America as their home.