Kimochi’s mission is to provide a continuum of culturally-sensitive programs and services to all seniors and their families to preserve their dignity and independence, with a focus on the Japanese American and Japanese speaking community.
The Cushman & Wakefield volunteer team consisted of members of the firm’s Asians + Pacific Islanders in Real Estate (ASPIRE) Employee Resource Group (ERG) along with relatives and allies of the team. The team participated in the nutrition program, helping to bag meals for pick up, as well as helped guide the line while conversating with all the seniors. Volunteering over a two-day period for approximately 3 hours each day, the team helped bag and serve more than 1,000 meals. The effort was led by Angie Espejo and Kimberly Fadriquela, who serve as Co-Chairs for ASPIRE in the West Region together with Susan Keokham and Lloyd Legaspi, members of ASPIRE and who also serve as Cushman & Wakefield’s Community Outreach Chairs in the West Region.
June 4th: Michelle Donnelly (and her husband Mike), Cathryn Trieu, Robert Sammons, Susan Keokham
Menu: Oden (Japanese stew), rice, edamame salad, apple and milk.
Served: 528 meals
June 11th: Susan Keokham, Ricky Zhang, Trina Blas, Robert Sammons, Cynthia Pak, Angie Espejo
Menu: salmon misoyaki, cauliflower, rice, spinach w/beats & carrot salad, banana and milk
Served: 491 meals
All Cushman & Wakefield volunteers had to provide either a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine card (plus two weeks) or a negative test result within a week prior to volunteering.
How it works:
Seniors, anyone 60 and over and a San Francisco resident, are eligible to pick up a free Japanese style hot lunch, Monday – Friday. The program is funded through the city and donations by vendors. Kimochi does accept donations, and offers a home delivery program. Due to COVID-19, meals are currently served through pick-up, but under normal circumstances tables would be offered where people can eat their lunch together.
Angie Espejo said, “Kimochi is such a wonderful cause and this organization selflessly provides so many amazing, authentic, and DELICIOUS meals to its community–they truly put their heart into every meal they serve, and the amount of people they work to serve is incredible. It felt great to spend even just a few hours helping so many wonderful senior citizens of San Francisco and being able to do so in-person while safely interacting with our community. We are thankful to Kimochi for allowing us to take part. I would also like to personally acknowledge Susan and Lloyd for their leadership and support in assisting ASPIRE with this effort.”
Susan Keokham added, “This was a very fulfilling experience and it was a pleasure coordinating these efforts with Kimochi’s Akiko Donohoe, Administrative Assistant and working alongside its team members, Shawne O’Connell, Director of Programs and Kai Fukumitsu, Senior Center Coordinator. While there were limitations on the number of volunteers who could participate due to COVID-19, we are hopeful that as restrictions ease, we can volunteer again and in even greater numbers!”
On behalf of Kimochi, Shawne O’Connell said, “During the pandemic, Kimochi saw a meteoric rise in need for nutrition support among the older adults we serve. In April 2021, Kimochi served 13,929 meals to 1,102 seniors. This is almost triple the approximately 4,300 meals we would serve in a typical April before COVID-19!”
Shawne continued, “2020 presented Kimochi with challenges never before seen in our 50-year history, but we are proud that we have risen to those challenges with determination and grace. It has been with the invaluable support of volunteers like Cushman & Wakefield’s ASPIRE members, that Kimochi Nutrition Program staff have fed record numbers of seniors at risk for food insecurity.”
Since 1971, Kimochi has provided culturally sensitive, Japanese language-based programs and services to 3,000 Bay Area seniors and their families each year. Services include transportation; referral and outreach services; health and consumer education seminars; healthy aging and senior center activities; social services; congregate and home delivered meals; in-home support services; adult social day care; 24-hour residential and respite care. For more information, to volunteer or to donate, please visit https://www.kimochi-inc.org/
Cushman & Wakefield’s ASPIRE aims to celebrate the Asian and Pacific Islander culture by building a global community that is committed to the advancement and development of its members while serving as champions of diversity and inclusion. To learn more visit https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/united-states/about-us/diversity-and-inclusion/aspire