Thanks to the generosity of Chow Time Restaurant, residents in local public housing facilities will receive a mask to protect themselves against the COVID19 virus.
Very few of those residents have had access to masks since the onset of COVID-19 in Memphis and Shelby County, said housing officials.
“We had these 10,000 masks, and we just wanted to give back,” said Ronald Kent of Chow Time. “We called Ken Moody down at the Mayor’s office, and we asked who might need the masks. He said, ‘Well, the housing authority needs them.’ So, that’s why we are here this morning.”
The cache of masks changed hands Wednesday morning in front of the Memphis Housing Authority building at 700 Adams Ave. The overcast skies did not dampen the spirits of MHA officials.
“This week was the first we were told about the masks,” said MHA’s Mike Swindle. “We received a call from our executive director, Marcia Lewis. The masks are really needed in public housing because you don’t really see a lot of them in use.
“Our residents have not really had much access to masks since we were all directed to wear masks when going outside. We are certainly happy to receive this gift on their behalf.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced early this month that face masks and cloth coverings were the best protection for everyone out in public.
The Shelby County Health Department immediately concurred.
“We just wanted to do something,” said Kent. “We had been kicking it around for a couple of weeks on what we need to do. Who we need to help out — who can we help out?
“So, we are pleased to donate these masks to public housing residents. And if you will notice, these are three-ply — the good masks. The best masks for the least advantaged of us all. And, that’s really the way it should be.”
In a drought of masks and other personal protective equipment, Kent said a window of opportunity presented itself, and they jumped at the chance before the opening was gone.
“We were able to acquire the masks because of our connection from China, thanks to my Chinese partners that own the mask company,” said Kent. “We got them in through that relationship. And that’s how this all came about. We saw the opportunity, and we just wanted to help.”
Swindle said that a plan for distribution will be in place shortly.
“We have a service coordinator from Urban Strategies who will be working with our site managers over our housing complexes,” said Swindle. “And we will be enacting that plan by distributing those masks door-to-door. That will cut down on having large numbers congregating.
“Foot traffic is eliminated if masks are delivered in this way. We want to keep our residents as safe as possible while masks are being distributed.”
Kent said the restaurant has been closed since inside dining was prohibited.
“We have not offered take-out or delivery services from our restaurant,” Kent said. “We just closed down complete operations until it is deemed safe to reopen. Our former mode of dining was the open buffet, which, of course, was very popular.
“But as we move forward and look to reopening, we have been discussing what the best way is to present our meals, until things get back to normal. We may offer a meat with two vegetables, or something like that, just until it is safe.”
Chow Time Buffet and Grill was founded in 2009, and is at 4207 Hacks Cross Road. The enterprise is owned and managed by four partners: Ronald Kent, Carolyn Kent, Sunny Chow and Jasmine Lin Chow.
Offerings include both Southern and Chinese cuisine.