Food Hero Stories


A family that showed love by filling your belly My Food Hero Is...
my role models , my mom and dad

Pay Chen, TV & Radio host and producer, writes about her food heroes, her mom and dad, and why she is donating in their honour to Community Food Centres Canada this holiday season.

1. Who's the food hero in your life?

My food heroes would be my mom and dad. They've worked in food service my entire life and own a small take-out food business in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

2. How do they show they care through food?

Even though my parents started out with very little, I always saw their extreme generosity when it came to feeding others. I would watch them pack up leftovers at the end of a business day to donate to a local shelter and give meals to people who came up short when it was time to pay. Homesick international students at local universities would befriend my parents at the local farmers' market and somehow end up at the house for a taste of home. I grew up in a family that showed love by filling your belly.

3. What's your fondest food memory of them?

My mom will complain about how tired she is and on her one day off (Christmas) she will invite 40 people over and make a feast for friends and acquaintances who might not have a place to enjoy a big meal. I haven't figured out how someone can make so many piping hot dishes from one home kitchen.

4. Why is it important for you to support an organization that uses food as a tool to increase physical and mental health + community belonging? What about this approach resonates with you?

I suppose it's a bit unique to grow up in a family-run food business — through it I saw how hard you have to work, but I also saw how appreciative people were to receive good, comforting food. In the farmers' market where my parents work, I see people of different cultures and backgrounds sharing stories and food as a way to build connections and friendships. Regardless of language differences, I'm always amazed at how food brings people together and gives them something common to share. 

Thanks to Pay for making a donation to the #myfoodhero campaign, which supports Community Food Centres Canada to offer empowering food programs that build better health, skills, and belonging in the communities that need it most. Join Pay by making a donation today!

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