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Nisei Lunch Program

by Keith Yamaguchi
June 2020, Volume 70, Issue 6

I hope you and your loved ones have been safe and well during these trying times.  I do know some of you have had to deal with loss of friends and loved ones during the pandemic and for that I want to extend my heartfelt condolences.

I have had a lot of time to think about the Nisei Lunch and how much I miss the interaction with my fellow volunteers and especially our guests.  I have also had time to think about the future of the Nisei Lunch program and how do we move forward.  It is obvious to me that social gatherings such as the Nisei Lunch will take on a whole new characteristic not only in the near term, but long term as we deal with social distancing policies.

There is so much uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 virus.  I do not think any of us realized just how much our lives would be impacted due to the recent pandemic and it appears that we have a long road ahead of us until the situation has stabilized.  I am afraid the “new normal” will be much different than what we have experienced in the past.

The Nisei Lunch Program has been an integral program hosted by the NVC /NVCF since 2015, however, this might be an opportune time for us to take a step back and take a hiatus for 2020.   In my opinion, the future is too uncertain, and the risks are too great to continue the program for the remainder of this year.  If the situation changes and becomes clearer, we can always revisit the Nisei Lunch program, however, until that time comes it is probably for the best that we take this action.

I would feel awful if even just one of our guest’s tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and that exposure could be traced back to our luncheon.  The risk for exposure to the virus is too great and the health and safety of our volunteers and guests is not worth continuing the program.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I will deeply miss the monthly “get together” and I will reflect with much fondness on the new friendships formed during the past 5 years.  I will remember the commitment and dedication that each of the volunteers brought to the program and of course the Nisei that attended the luncheon.  It was an honor and a privilege to serve you and to get to know you all.  Above all—let us not forget the monthly BINGO session!

On behalf of the Nisei Lunch volunteers, stay safe and take care.