DENVER (CBS4) – Three Denver chefs have teamed up to raise funds and awareness for causes related to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Community (AAPI). Anti-Asian hate incidents have increased across the country since the pandemic began. This week, the Stop AAPI Hate group released new data showing that more than 6,000 anti-Asian hate incidents were reported in the past year, almost double the previous year.

Women were the victims in almost 65% of these incidents.

(Credit: CBS)

After several cases of hatred and violence against the Asian-American community were reported across the country in the spring, Penelope Wong, owner of Yuan Wonton, a Denver-based food truck, said she was concerned for her family and found it difficult to get out of the house .

In March she was surprised by a question from Chef Carolyn Nugent, owner of Ulster St. Pastry, a popular micro-bakery that she runs from home. The two became friends earlier this year.

Nugent said she reached Wong because she noticed something in her energy.

“She asked me out of the blue, ‘How are you? ‘and it was like the floodgates had just opened, ”said Wong.

(Image credit: Penelope Wong)

“Fear for her family, fear for her business … it really pushed me back, and from then on I said, ‘We have to do something more,'” said Nugent.

Now Wong, Nugent and Annette’s head chef, Caroline Glover, are running the Better Together – Colorado fundraiser for AAPI in Aurora. It includes a GoFundMe page as well as a weekly raffle for items and services donated by 30+ chefs, restaurants, small businesses and local musicians including Hop Alley, Frasca Food & Wine, The Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff.

“We have multi-course tasting evenings, private cooking classes, private baking lessons,” said Wong.

The money raised will go to two charities that work for AAPI. Wong said the recipients are the Asian American Foundation and the AAPI Community Fund. The goal is to raise at least $ 10,000.

(Credit: CBS)

“It’s just amazing. In two days we’ll be at 70% of our goal, ”said Wong. “Denver is amazing.”

“The answer only shows how big the heart is in the hotel industry here and in other companies,” said Nugent. “We’re going to do something amazing.”

The bigger goal is to do something even more valuable, Wong says, and that is what she will work towards long after the fundraiser ends.

“[We’re] We are doing as much as we can to raise awareness and let people know this is happening, ”said Wong. “That is my primary goal.”

If you’d like to donate to Better Together – Colorado for AAPI, please do so here.