Gina Myers, left, a volunteer with the Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland, hands another volunteer one of the 350 meals at the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry's Men's Shelter Monday.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Hank Burns found a helping hand and a smiling face Monday night when the Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland gave away 350 winter coats and meals at the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry's Men's Shelter on Lakeside Avenue.
"I appreciate them coming out," said Burns, 53, who worked as a salaried machinist for more than 30 years to be laid off two years ago. "They did a very nice job."
Volunteers served the men chicken, beef, fried rice, dumplings and eggs rolls.
Seung K. Kim, 65, former president of the Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland and the current vice president of The Federation of Midwest Korean-American Association, USA, started the event three years ago, giving away 500 blankets.
"America came over and saved our country during the Korean War," Kim said. "It was so dangerous, so poor. They sacrificed and saved our lives, so now that we are making a living we can buy food and help others."
It took about 35 volunteers to put together this years' dinner and coat giveaway including 10 people from The National Unification Advisory Council in Chicago.
Donald Pak, 52, the current president of the local Korean American Association, immigrated to the U.S. in 1973 with his parents and brother, but he clearly remembers the impoverished conditions many Koreans lived in and is grateful to the American government for stepping in to help the people of his native country.
"It touches my heart," Pak said.
Pak wanted to continue what Kim started with the homeless shelter as a token of his appreciation to the U.S. and its people. Pak was especially bothered by the fact that many veterans had been displaced and were seeking help from the shelter.
"That hurts me and that's why I want to participate in this type of event," he said. "To serve them, gave them respect, help them to grasp onto hope and give them strength."
No one traveled as far to support the cause than Song Pil-Gak, chairman of the Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk-Do. He has attended and financially supported the event since it began as his way of saying thank you.
"I have participated for three continuous years to give back to the U.S," he said through an interpreter. "When Korean people first came to the U.S. we had suffered from poverty, but we received help from the U.S."
Song said that now that Koreans in the U.S are a little richer they needed to show gratitude.
"We can help people keep warm in the winter and keep hopes and dreams alive," he said.
출처 - http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/10/korean_american_association_ex.html