MIDDLETOWN, CT — A Middletown restaurant owner is being hailed as a “Hometown Hero” for her efforts in the fight against food insecurity in the city.
Chu Ngo, who owns Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant at 505 Main St., is credited with helping organize the First Church of Middletown’s lunch program during the coronavirus pandemic. Ngo isn’t a member of the church but started helping with the program even before her own restaurant was open, according to Pam Hartz Miller.
“She has been wonderful to work with,” Hartz Miller said in an email.
In March, First Church of Middletown was looking for a way to help the community during the pandemic.
“We felt that Food Insecurity, which is an ongoing problem in Middletown, was only made worse by the pandemic,” the church’s Food Insecurity Team wrote in a statement. “We were also made aware that many of our local restaurants were struggling due to limitations caused by COVID.
“We had an idea of how to both feed people and help the restaurants by buying meals each Sunday for distribution to the residents of the YMCA and Eddy Shelter. It all came together when Chu Ngo (owner of Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant) joined our workgroup and said ‘Let me organize it for you!’. With her connections to local restaurants, she quickly put together a list of restaurants willing to participate in our program.
“Starting in May 2020 and every week since, Chu has been our ‘go between’ doing all the coordination between First Church, restaurants, YMCA, and Eddy Shelter. Often the restaurants deliver the meals (80-100 per week), but when they can’t, Chu delivers the food herself.
“We hope that this program is helping the Middletown community during this crisis. We also know that the real reason it is working is due to the unselfish and hardworking nature of Chu Ngo.
First Church, 190 Court St., is funding this program from “Vision Funds” raised by the congregation. Individuals and organizations can also support this program by sending donations to “First Church” with “Sunday Lunch program” in the memo line.
See also: Millions Made Hungry By Pandemic Could Include Your Neighbor
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.