Wong’s, Project MANA help to fill Thanksgiving plates
Everyone should have a hot meal on Thanksgiving, and thanks to Wong’s Garden and Project MANA, anyone in need of a meal could get one – for free.
It may not have been your typical baked turkey, but it sure was good.
Wong’s Garden co-owners Ken and Ming Le served more than 100 residents a choice of Szechwan turkey, chow mein turkey or sweet and sour pork and fried rice from 5 to 7:30 p.m. last Thursday.
“We had some who came and took food home. Some ate here. We also had some tourists,” Ming Le said Monday morning. “They called the Chamber of Commerce and they told them about free Thanksgiving dinners.”
This may be the first time a local restaurant has ever had professionally prepared meals during the holiday for free.
As if that wasn’t enough, Wong’s even delivered.
While Ken worked in the kitchen, Ming delivered 28 hot meals to the senior center on Highway 267.
“My brother and I had breakfast there six years ago, so we needed to give them something back,” he said.
“I figured I had nothing to do, my wife was out of town,” Ming joked. “(My brother and I) always like to do something but we don’t always know how we can contribute to the community.”
Project MANA, a non-profit charity which receives and redistributes food to people in need, also delivered free food over the holiday weekend.
Trisha Louie, a hunger relief coordinator, said the food drive was huge. When the drive ended, Louie said the charity had collected several thousand pounds of food.
“We held food drives at all of the schools, businesses such as Tahoe Forest Hospital, the Resort at Squaw Creek, Albertsons and more.”
Louie said she and several volunteers distributed uncooked turkeys along with baskets of produce to 130 families at the Truckee Recreation Center on Nov. 18.
“We cooked food for about 40 FACE clients, people who are ill and can’t get out and do normal things … It’s kind of like a meals on wheels program,” she said. Louie delivered the cooked food the day before Thanksgiving.
Louie said the project took about a month of planning, and involved dozens of volunteers.
“It was hard to find people willing to work,” Ming said of Wong’s efforts to deliver hot food to the community on Thanksgiving. “We had more people in the back cooking small portions at a time to keep it hot so we could keep up with the volume.”
“I don’t know if there is anything exactly like that,” Truckee Town Councilman Don McCormack said. “Food efforts have been made … but I can’t recall a restaurant doing that before.”
“If nobody in town volunteers we will likely do the free dinner again,” Ming said.
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