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“All of my grandchildren are mixed-race. I like it that way!” Right away, when you meet Mrs. Lee, you understand that the most important value in her life is community – bringing people together. That’s why the afternoon of March 25 was especially poignant, bringing together the organization that provides Mrs. Lee’s meals, Meals On Wheels, and her longtime friend and “favorite Supervisor,” Aaron Peskin, for a special afternoon filled with storytelling, treats, and, of course, community.
Mrs. Lee was born in Japan and came to the U.S. in 1950, when she stayed in a small hotel on Bush St. At that time, Ping Yuen, the large housing complex in Chinatown where Mrs. Lee lives, was brand new, and she moved in shortly thereafter. After many, many years as a member of her own Chinatown community, Mrs. Lee supported Supervisor Peskin when he was first elected. Of course, she has supported him ever since. “He is my favorite supervisor because he is passionate, he helps the poor and the homeless, and he get things done,” she says with a smile, the Supervisor standing next to her.
In 2012, Mrs. Lee grew very, very ill. It was during this time that she enrolled in Meals On Wheels for the first time, and relied on her driver to put her meals on the table so she wouldn’t have to carry them herself. Four years later, Mrs. Lee takes her medicine like clockwork and is doing much better. When she can, she even saves up to donate to Meals On Wheels because she wants to give back to the program that has been so good to her. After a moment of reflection, Mrs. Lee says that she was depressed once, but “everyone told me that the community would come together and make things better.” And today she stands, surrounded by the community she has fought for, and the community she believes in.
Thank you, Mrs. Lee, for your unwavering dedication to community. Today and every day, we honor you and all of our senior neighbors!