New outreach of Iowa City’s Chinese community lends a hand during COVID-19 pandemic
Last year, the Iowa City Chinese Association took a bold step.
Since its founding in 2007, it had been a private social club for members only, the main purpose being to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
“But as folks settled in over the years, there was a growing realization that we should not dwell in the mindset that we are mere visitors living in a foreign land,” its current president, Yaling Yi, told me.
“We had now become part of the community and wanted to interact more and welcome non-Chinese descent folks to our events,” she said. “So in 2019, we made the switch from a social club to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We welcome anyone, regardless of national origin.”
The move was a timely one, considering this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
For one thing, with its more open status, the association and its more than 800 members and friends could more easily join hands with the many other local nonprofits offering assistance.
It quickly raised $13,000 to establish an coronavirus emergency response fund and donated thousands of medical masks and other PPE to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It has provided 700 meals so far to homeless shelters and front-line medical staff, plus supported other local agencies in need. It created webpages at https://icaca.info/combat-covid19 and continues to offer support in many other ways.