On October 22nd,2008 in Long Beach California 5 women were awarded the Minerva Award by First Lady Maria Schriver. The Minerva Awards were created in 2004 and are awarded to women who have made extraordinary contributions to California in the arts, health and sciences, community activism, business and technology, motherhood, innovation, education and lifetime achievement. Why do I write about this on my food blog? Well, because this year, one of the extraordinary women to win this award is from our neck of the woods, Eureka CA. And she earned this award by helping to feed the homeless for the last 20 years. Her name is Betty Chin and she's a pretty remarkable woman. She started out by spending what she earned at a part time job at a school to go out and feed the needy. She rises every morning at 2 am to pray and meditate. At 2:45 she goes to her kitchen to see what she has to feed hundreds of homeless and she proceeds to prepare the meals. At 6 am she picks up homeless children to make sure they have showers before school starts and gets them clean clothes, school supplies and visits to the doctor if needed. By 8 am she loads up her truck and heads to Saint Vincent DePaul parking lot and serves 200 donuts and coffee. Then she heads home and prepares dinners of sandwiches and what ever else she can find in her cabinets, or that people have donated. By 11 she goes to her part time job then after work she loads up her truck and heads back down to Saint Vincent DePaul to offer meals, care baskets and clothes to families in need. She goes home by 7 to start the whole process over again.
Why? This is Betty's passion. As a child in China she was homeless for 4 years. The Chinese Cultural Revolution tore her family apart. Her father fled the country and her mother was imprisoned, leaving her and her siblings on the streets. She knows what it's like to be hungry and alone. She walked 1600 miles across China and eventually found her way to America and to the town of Eureka. She was able to get on her feet in America and rather than be bitter for what she went through as a child, she has chosen to give back to the needy people of the country that has given her so much.
Betty struggles everyday to keep going. She works part time and her husband is a retired professor. When asked by a reporter "what can we do to help" her response is, "give me peanut butter". She makes 400 sandwiches every day and she relies heavily on community donations. So, in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, I felt it would be appropriate to honor this wonderful woman here, and in doing so, possibly inspire some desire out there to help this woman with her passion to serve the needy.
What can you do? You can donate money or supplies through the Humboldt Area Foundation or through the
Betty's Blue Angel's site
So, while you sit down to that wonderful meal at Thanksgiving, think to help out those who are less fortunate then you and give thanks for people like Betty Chinn who make our world a better place to live.
For more information on the Minerva Awards go here