SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Joe Pang and his children have already received orders for 1,500 handmade dumplings.
They began using a Chinese family recipe in mid-October to fulfill the orders by Nov. 13, which will be available for pickup at their Dayton home.
Selling at $20 for 10 dumplings, the family made $16,000 last year.
However, this is no business venture – it is a fundraising project in honor of their late wife and mother, Jackie Pang.
Jackie was diagnosed in 2017 with frontotemporal degeneration. A terminal illness that had no family history “caught us completely by surprise,” her husband Joe said.
She was forced to retire from the South Brunswick School District, where she taught kindergarten and second grade at Indian Fields and Dayton schools for 22 years.
On April 24, 2020, she passed away at home at age 64.
Since this was the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Joe Pang said the family was unable to have a viewing or a funeral. He spoke with his three children and said, “What can we do to remember Mom?”
The family had already been fundraising for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), so they decided to continue fundraising, while adding a component to benefit programs in the South Brunswick School District.
“This gives us a meaningful project to do good for the students and for the staff,” Joe Pang said of the Jackie Pang Library-Builder Project. “We are building Jackie’s legacy, which was our intent.”
In order to fundraise for the library project, the Pangs decided to organize an offshoot of AFTD’s Food for Thought program and developed a website from which area residents can order homemade dumplings.
Joe and his children make the dumplings and freeze them for a one-day pickup. Last year, he estimates they made 4,000 dumplings. They cooked in their house and then used their own freezers and the freezers of neighbors to store the dumplings.
“We had a very good support system, even before the time Jackie got sick – a lot of good friends always willing to lend a hand,” he said.
They also plan to take part in AFTD’s marathon in Philadelphia on Nov. 20-21. Jackie took part in the race the first year the family participated. Now, they have about 50 people running in her honor, plus sponsorships.
“This is something very close to our hearts,” Joe Pang said.
To learn more, make a donation or order dumplings, visit www.TheJackiePangFund.org
Contact Jennifer Amato at firstname.lastname@example.org