Leaving a legacy: Danny Yick Him Wong 1936-2018

Danny was Linda’s uncle and was one of the first of his family to immigrate to Canada. He was born in China and did not have any formal English education before arriving here. Linda believed he arrived in Alberta as a teenager and started making a living doing various odd jobs. He later moved to the restaurant industry where he continued to work for the rest of his career in Ottawa. He never married, and had no kids of his own, but was part of a big, loving family that lived across Canada.

Like all early Chinese immigrants at that time, he worked hard and long hours, but was paid less than others doing the same job because he didn’t speak English. This motivated him to teach himself. “It was a bit of a tough life,” says Linda. “But later he also taught himself to play the violin!”

When Danny died in 2018, he was 82 years old. He had a Will and used his savings to leave gifts to his family and to charities that help people who are struggling with the effects of poverty such as food insecurity, poor health, and homelessness.

“My favourite memory of him is his generosity. He lived modestly, and yet he shared whatever he had … especially with his extended family or someone in need. Having gone through his own hardship, he understood what people needed and when they needed it.”

The Ottawa Food Bank is honoured to be one of the charities Danny supported with a bequest. Danny’s gift, made with just 1% of his estate, provided important financial support from 2018 through 2021. The first disbursement (payout from the estate) helped provide meals to vulnerable families affected by the power outages after the tornadoes hit Ottawa in 2018; the next gift was added to the annual ReFRESH budget and helped buy more fresh fruits and vegetables needed by food bank member agencies and their clients throughout the year, but especially during the winter months when the Ottawa Food Bank’s farm is closed for the season; and in 2021, his final gift is helping the robust relief response that’s needed as COVID-19 persists and hurts the physical and economic health of thousands people in our community.

Linda is the executor of her uncle’s Will. She was not surprised to see charities included alongside family members as beneficiaries. “I would have been surprised if he had NOT included charities in his Will. He loved Ottawa and his family, and he always wanted to give back.”

When Linda learned of the different ways her uncle’s gift was used by the Ottawa Food Bank, the smile was heard in her voice, “Oh! I am so pleased!” she exclaimed. “It shows that you do not have to be from a wealthy background to give back. He would be so happy to know that he was able to help!”

Thinking about leaving a legacy gift?

We are so grateful for people like Danny who help make a lasting impact on reducing food insecurity in Ottawa.

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