Allie Umemoto ’21 received a Community Action Grant for the summer of 2020. Read her testimonial below about she helped brighten elderly community members’ day.

Umemoto sitting by a lake

Allie Umemoto ’21

When I returned to Sacramento from campus, I knew the initial Covid-19 shutdown would be hard on many communities, especially the elderly. My great uncle and great aunt both live near me in Greenhaven Terrace (GT), a senior apartment living facility, run by the Asian Community Center (ACC) Senior Services. My family visits and drops off food for my great uncle and aunt where we see the impact of Covid-19 on the elderly residents who are sheltering place. Both my great uncle and aunt talked about their struggles of having nothing to do and being so isolated, especially as a vulnerable and at-risk community. Hearing what my great aunt and uncle were going through, I wanted to support this whole community of seniors.  

While thinking of a project, in addition to supporting the seniors living at GT, I wanted to support a small business in my community, since small businesses were also being hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions. I chose to support Osaka Ya, a small local business that makes homemade Japanese manju and mochi. My idea was to provide seniors the opportunity to select the manju/mochi that they would like, and then I would deliver the treats to them from Osaka Ya. After consulting with staff at GT to make sure my project was conducted safely, I created a manju/mochi order form for the seniors to fill out and turn in. I then ordered the manju/mochi, packaged them by apartment number, and then delivered them to GT where staff delivered the treats directly to the seniors.  

Image of the mochi

The mochi

 I was happy to support seniors and a small business in my local Japanese American community. One of my favorite memories of this project is picking up the order forms and reading all the wonderful notes the seniors wrote to me in appreciation for my project. My great aunt also told me that she heard many seniors comment on how they were really looking forward to receiving this treat, and they couldn’t believe that it was free! It was a small thing, but it seemed to really brighten their lives for a moment.