By Michael P. Mayko
March 25, 2020 ANSONIA — At least a thousand pounds of soups, canned meats and fish, peanut butter and boxes of spaghetti arrived at the Greater Valley (Ansonia) Salvation Army foodbank here in one massive donation, courtesy of the Chinese American community.
The delivery came at a time of need for the foodbank.
“People aren’t working now,” said Salvation Army Major Caroline Ramos. “We expect to see a jump in Valley families needing help.”
The foodbank serves about 170 families in Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton. She said she expects that number to rise dramatically in the coming weeks as more people lose their weekly paycheck.
But the organization got an unexpected gift Monday, when several Sports Utility Vehicles filled with canned and packaged food arrived at the site. The donations will be kept in storage for 72 hours in order to kill the possibility of any coronavirus spores lingering on them.
Jason Zhao and Han Chen of Orange, joined by State Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, and Mayor David Cassetti, helped unload the vehicles while snow swirled around them.
“We need protein products for our seniors and children,” said Ramos, who with her husband, Juan, also a Salvation Army major, run the foodbank.
The donation effort was put together by Lin Yang, a chemical engineer who lives in Trumbull and was born in China. She said the donations are coming from Chinese-American residents living in the area, many of whom were forced by Gov. Ned Lamont’s order to close their businesses.
“We in the Chinese community feel we are being hit for the second time,” she said. “Most of us still have family in China and we know what they are going through there. We helped out there — now the crisis is here. We felt we had to step up again.”
In addition to the food bank donations, Yang said protective gear and cleaning material were also taken to the UConn Health Center and the Yale-New Haven hospital and will be brought to Griffin Hospital by Logan.
“What has been going on is heart-breaking to us,” she said. “This is an unprecedented disaster, and as brothers in this community, we must all band together.”
Logan was designated to pick up protective gear from various homes particularly in Woodbridge and Orange. He said a restaurateur in Stamford is donating 1,000 masks.
Logan said he was glad to be of help.
“As this crisis continues more and more people are going to be impacted,” he said. “The timing of these supplies is essential.”