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  • 09/02/22 NBC Bay Area News: Residents of Chinese Boys Home Reunite Over Memories

09/02/22 NBC Bay Area News: Residents of Chinese Boys Home Reunite Over Memories

September 05, 2022 6:00 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

Former residents of the Chung Mei Boys Home in El Cerrito and their wives reunite for lunch at Tai Wu Restaurant in Millbrae.

The following is an excerpt from the 09/02/22 NBC Bay Area News:

By Joe Rosato, Jr.

The 80 and 90-something-year-old Chinese men shuffling into Millbrae's Tai Wu restaurant on a recent day had much more to share than just lunch. They were there to share a unique camaraderie as children who'd once lived in the Chung Mei Boys Home, an El Cerrito facility that took in Chinese boys between 1935 and 1954. 

Several times a year, the men and their wives gather together over hot tea and steaming pork buns to compare notes about their time in the home and life under its founder, Dr. Charles Shepherd, the British Baptist minister who founded Chung Mei Home and ran it with the precision of a military academy. Shepherd had witnessed dozens of abandoned and hungry children on the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown and felt compelled to do something. 

"Definitely there’s no other institution like this and never will be," said Richard Mar, who lived in the home from 1948 to 1953.

Shepherd established the original Chung Mei Home in Berkeley and then relocated it to El Cerrito in 1935 after outgrowing the previous home. The original El Cerrito building, which now houses a school, stands at 1800 Elm St. and has since been added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Buildings. 

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