Ming’s Cafe offers hot soup and rice to those in need
Instead of rushing to close up shop after a long shift, the cooks at Ming’s Café prepare hot soup and rice for the homeless.
Ming’s Café owner Michael Zhang said a few people have shown up for a hot meal since they started the service last week.
“It’s still kind of cold outside,” Zhang said. “There is hot and sour soup, egg drop soup and miso soup and then we’ll give that away with rice.”
Zhang, who owns both of Ming’s locations in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, said he had to cut his own staff’s hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants across the state have been forced to stop dine-in service and instead rely entirely on takeout and delivery sales.
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“To be honest, this is a really tough moment for the entire restaurant industry,” Zhang said. “It’s really hard.”
Originally from China, Zhang has called the Roaring Fork Valley home for as long as he can remember. Since opening Ming’s second location in downtown Glenwood Springs last year, Zhang feels like part of a larger family too.
“At this hard moment, I feel like people in the Roaring Fork Valley are really warm-hearted,” Zhang said. “The restaurant owners in downtown, instead of being competitors, we’re more like friends and family.”
However, the difficult decisions the small business owner has had to make recently made him think about the local homeless population and how the pandemic was affecting them.
While hot soup and rice may not seem like much, it means a lot to the handful of individuals who wait for it each night outside the eatery.
“We will count how many people need soup and rice and then we will prepare that,” Zhang said. “We’ll make fresh soup for them.”
Adhering to social distancing, Zhang provides hot soup and rice to the homeless after 9:30 p.m. at both of Ming’s locations.
“There might be some people out there that are hurting even more,” Zhang said. “I just wanted to do something for the community.”
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Garfield County COVID-19 cases nearly doubled in early September with the anticipated start-of-school spike, according to local health officials.