St. Paul club celebrates Lunar New Year at Meals for Neighbors




Meals for Neighbors held its first Lunar New Year meal last Wednesday in partnership with Saint Paul Catholic High School’s mission club.

The Lunar New Year is the observance of a new year in a lunar calendar in the Asian culture.

The menu for the event consisted of Northern Chinese pork, sauerkraut, dumplings, Korean beef bulgogi, Indonesian fried rice, and fortune cookies for dessert. All of the food was prepared by the mission club members in their kitchen at Saint Paul.


Dawn Zillich, co-advisor of the mission club said that the food was prepped on Monday, and the meat was cooked, and the wontons were baked the day of the event. She also said that the rice came from the Meals for Neighbors pantry. The rice’s expiration date was coming up, so it was used so it didn’t go to waste.

“We came up with the menu together; it was a team effort,” said Zillich. “I like to make them responsible for what they’re doing.”

Matt Maglio, Mission Club president said that he likes giving back to people.

“I like serving people; I’m not doing it for the hours,” said Maglio.

Jillian Kiazim, another Mission Club member, said she joined to get involved in her school, and do something meaningful.

“It feels good to help people. It teaches you to be thankful for what you have,” said Kiazim, who was helping serve at the event.

This was the first time Meals for Neighbors hosted a Lunar New Year celebration. Zillich said the idea came about because the Mission Club consists of international students. Meals for Neighbors and Saint Paul have partnered previously.

Director for Meals for Neighbors, Van Monak Chhun, said she hopes the event becomes an annual happening.

“I want to encourage more community diversity; Bristol is diverse,” said Chhun.

Chhun said that Meals for Neighbors serves dinner on a daily basis, while Agape House serves breakfast, and Brian’s Angels serves snacks.

Silvio Rivera has worked at Meals for Neighbors for a month so far, and said that he loves it.

“Everyone is friendly; they welcome me, and love me for who I am,” said Rivera.

Rivera said he is only scheduled to work with the organization for a limited time, but once the job is over he wants to continue being involved with the organization.

Zillich said what’s next for Saint Paul’s mission club is making dog beds, and getting dog food and toy donations. They’re also in the process of typing up books for the blind. Once the books are finished, the pages will go through a machine that will turn the typed words into braille.