By Greg Hugh -
For 10 years, a dedicated group of Chinese ladies has served meals at the Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Dorothy Day Center serves people experiencing homelessness.
The Chinese ladies plan the menu, pay for all of it and even cook some of the items themselves. According to Yin Simpson, Circle 88 was founded 10 years ago. The group consists of ladies who had immigrated to the U.S. and originally just met on a social basis. Most have known each other many years prior to the formation of Circle 88. They soon felt they should do something to give back to the community that had welcomed them and enabled them to prosper, rather than focusing only on social activities.
The group decided to perform an annual charitable activity and chose to work with the Dorothy Day Center. They called themselves the Circle 88. “Circle” is to acknowledge what goes around, comes around; “8” is a propitious number in Chinese, resulting in double prosperity. The group includes Yin Simpson, May Yue, Dora Lee, Connie Huie, Ming Lee, Margaret Chan, Louisa Eng and Sandra Chen.
The group usually meets in October to begin planning and organizing for the Chinese meal at the Dorothy Day Center. This year, the menu consisted of chicken wings, egg rolls, fried rice and lo mein, with all the necessary condiments and fortune cookies. Approximately 300 passed through the line and many were excited about the menu, exclaiming, “I love Chinese food!”
The folks served at the Dorothy Day Center really look forward to this change of pace and they graciously expressed their appreciation for such a treat, which really warms the hearts of the Circle 88 members. It makes their effort and the time each spend on the event that much more satisfying. Of course, much thanks also goes to the ladies’ significant others and their friends for their assistance in helping with the kitchen duty, pouring juice, plating, etc., making this event possible.