San Francisco restaurant owner comforts with her cooking, delivers free meals to those in need

A restaurant owner in San Francisco hopes to bring comfort to others with her cooking during this time of crisis. She's giving free meals and delivering them to people in need.

Kim Dang owns Eric's Restaurant, a neighborhood fixture in Noe Valley for almost three decades. She said she was inspired by a woman who made soup to help her neighbors.

On Friday, she prepared chicken chow mein with vegetables, a labor of love for the restaurant owner.

"I have to grocery every morning. Then at 8 o'clock, I come back. I cut the vegetables. We cook the food," said Kim.

While keeping her restaurant open for take-out only during the shelter in place order, Kim is also cooking free hot meals for the most vulnerable. Her daughter is helping her connect with those in need through social media.

"The goal is to keep seniors and the immuno-compromised and the sick at home where they should be and keep them safe," said Susie Mao, Kim's daughter.

Three weeks ago, Kim delivered food personally when it was 15 meals a day. She said she loves  the  reaction from the people who receive the help. 

"They say, 'Hi Kim. Thank you'. I'm so happy.  I'm very happy, " said Kim.

Now, it's grown to 45 meals a day, five days a week. Neighbors have volunteered to help deliver the food. Kim's meals go to folks in Noe Valley and Bernal Heights,

"When you're old and kinda disabled, you're caught inside. This is not good. Pyschologically, it's hard. This means a lot," said 76-year-old Doug Martin.  

"Kim is cooking with such love from her heart. I think they can really sense that. It gives just that little moment in their day of pleasure," said Rose Titcomb, a volunteer who delivers the meals.

70-year-old Linda, who declined to give her last name, said she's receiving more than a meal. "Kim warms my heart more than she warms my stomach her caring is palpable."

Volunteers say they're inspired by Kim and have developed relationships with the people they're helping.

Almost 30 years ago, Kim started at Eric's Restaurant as a server and manager before eventually becoming the owner.

She said she's giving back to the commmunity that helped the restaurant thrive for so many years.

"They support us a lot, so this time I can do something for them," said Kim.

She plans to continue the free meals until the shelter-in-place is lifted.

She doesn't not accept any donations. Kim said the meals are a gift from her heart to the community.