Founded at the onset of COVID-19, Heart of Dinner works to fight food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors—two long-standing community issues heightened by the pandemic.
We serve elders throughout NYC, delivering weekly care packages that are filled to the brim with culturally thoughtful hot lunches, fresh groceries, pantry essentials, and bulk ingredients while supporting local small businesses during their COVID-related recovery process. Our carefully curated foods are bundled inside uniquely decorated bags with handwritten notes of love attached.
Nourishing NYC’s Asian elders with love and food every week.
Originally a supper club formed in 2015 bringing people together around a shared meal and sense of community, the duo quickly evolved their idea as the pandemic hit. Their late-night conversations about the global impact of COVID-19 and the heightened racism towards Asian Americans soon became questions around how to create positive change. The two have taken different paths in their respective lives and careers to reach the same goal: joyfully centering and uplifting people and communities. Shortly after, Yin and Moonlynn united their mutual loves of language and food to birth Heart of Dinner’s #LovingChinatown relief efforts. Together as curators and caretakers, they are engaged in creative, culture-shifting acts that replace intolerance and despair with inclusion and love.
On April 1st 2020, the duo cooked the first-ever Heart of Dinner #LovingChinatown hot lunches for those most vulnerable around Manhattan's Chinatown area, with a focus on homebound elders. Then with the help of a growing community of volunteers and partner businesses, Heart of Dinner has been able to expand its reach throughout the different boroughs NYC: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn. In the months since inception, their volunteer network has gone national, and with the tremendous support from donors, in-kind donors, distribution partners, restaurant partners, and volunteers, the love-powered initiative provided over 100,000 meals in January 2022. The organization has been lauded by Time, Vogue, NBC and ABC News, Ellen, WSJ and Fortune, and they’ve been named Glamour Women of the Year.
What’s most meaningful to Yin and Moonlynn to share with the community of collective supporters has been the response from the Elderly themselves. One couple, ages 89 and 86, told them: “Thank you for caring for us; thank you for bringing us happiness; thank you for giving us something to look forward to each week. You all are our grandchildren. We love you all.”
Heart of Dinner is fiscally sponsored through Edward Charles Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, tax ID 26-4245043. Help us hit our ambitious goal to provide 250,000 meals to our senior community with a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor.
Heart of Dinner was founded by partners in life and love, Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai.
New York born and raised actor and storyteller Yin Chang is most recognized for her role in beloved teen drama, Gossip Girl, opening up a long overdue conversation about Asian-American representation in Hollywood. As a short film producer and director, her work has gathered over 13 million views. Experiencing the lack of representation throughout her 15 year career in television and film, Yin launched online platform 88 Cups of Tea in 2015 to amplify diverse voices, nurturing creative writers to write themselves into the heroes of their own stories. 88 Cups of Tea’s podcast arm ranked in Apple's top 15 Literature & Arts podcasts, and featured in Apple’s top 20 Asian and Pacific American voices.
Moonlynn Tsai is a Taiwanese-American restaurateur and entrepreneur who grew up in Carlsbad, California, spending time at her parents’ Chinese-American restaurants leading front-of-house operations, back-end admin work, and marketing. Before committing to a career in hospitality, Moonlynn dabbled in various odd jobs, including buying and selling snuggies and shake weights on eBay. Over the past decade, she combined her lifelong passions for eateries and community building by bringing new hospitality concepts to life, including San Jose’s first craft beer bar; a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in Silver Lake; and a critically acclaimed restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side.