Project Oasis Compati
It didn’t take long for Roxanne Chow, a small business owner, veterans advocate, and community activist for the Asian Pacific Seniors and Veterans in Little Saigon in Westminster to realize something had to be done for her community who were panicking when governor Newsom announced COVID-19 shutdowns in March 2020.
“There were long lines at the grocery stores, limited basic need supplies available, people lost their jobs, and were just plain fearful of getting sick and dying,” said Roxanne.
She started calling around and doing wellness checks on neighbors in their seventies and eighties in a local mobile home community and offering to get groceries here and there. Volunteers met on her front lawn to help neighbors. And then, the need just grew too big.
That’s when she established, “Project Oasis Compati” – a Project for food for those in need, Oasis is the name of her street, and Compati, meaning compassion in Latin.
“Our organization grew overnight in response to the lockdown,” said Roxanne. She called Bill Bracken at Bracken’s Kitchen to ask for help. “He rose to the challenge and got to work. He never once worried about where are we going to get this money,” said Roxanne. “Without the generosity of Bracken’s Kitchen, we couldn’t do all that we do.
For the past 14 months, Roxanne and her team of 40-60 weekly volunteers serve 430 local seniors and at risk Veterans in her community a box of food, prepared meals and groceries from Bracken’s Kitchen.
As a refugee to this country, Roxanne welcomes opportunities to give back and help others. “There is no better partner, than Bracken’s Kitchen, we couldn’t do all that we do without them.”
The Asian Pacific Seniors and Veterans group that Roxanne serves is a very prideful group. They do not ask for help unless they absolutely need it.
Similar to Bracken’s Kitchen’s motto of “delivering hope, not just nutritious meals” Roxanne says “It’s not just that we are delivering food, we are delivering compassion, hope and love. Our seniors and veterans look forward to the human connection, especially during the lockdown. The human contact has made a positive impact that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
“We feel like giving to these people who are in need is a privilege,” said Roxanne. We don’t see them as people who are in need. We see them as people who are accepting our help.”
Volunteers are key to her mission.
“Our volunteers have stayed so committed, even when it’s 100 degrees plus outside, or raining, they show up. We have college students, small business owners, veterans, people who enjoy seeing those we serve weekly.”
Receiving weekly groceries and meals is making a positive impact.
One father of four called and worried how long he would be able to pick up meals for his family. He said he’s saving hundreds each month on groceries and it’s helping his family.
“These people have great pride, but at the same time, they’ve found limited means and feeding their families has become so expensive,” said Roxanne. “One woman could finally pay for her car registration that cost $400, with the money she saved in food.”
Roxanne was so touched when a woman called to say that with the donation of tofu, she fried it with some lemon grass and soy sauce, and asked if she would come over for dinner.
One grandmother is raising her three grandkids and she’s been able to save hundreds each month by receiving milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt and meals.
Some people they serve are trying foods from Bracken’s Kitchen that they’ve never tasted before. Mozzarella cheese, for example, is considered a luxury item that they could never afford.
Even with the risk of COVID-19 improving in the county, the negative impact of the pandemic still lingers. There is a waiting list of 200 at Project Oasis Compati who are also in need.