Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor

September 14, 2021 | 00:00
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are people who silently sacrifice with the desire to help as many people as possible.
Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
Song Chanh Niem Buddhism Charity Group gathered in the centre after finishing their work

Since the beginning of the fourth pandemic, Gaveau Patrick and his wife, together with some of the devoted disciples of Song Chanh Niem Buddism Charity Group, have passionately raised funds to provide food for disadvantaged people in Ho Chi Minh City.

In a talk with VIR, Patrick expressed his gratefulness to help Vietnamese and expats in the city he has lived in for the last 15 years. "It is a difficult time for everyone, especially those who get little income or have lost their jobs. But, we are here to do our part and help others in need," he said.

The charity group operates from District 8 at 55 Thanh Loan Street, Ward 5. Every day, they receive food trucks, some small, some bigger, up to 22 tonnes. To unload the trucks, they have a group of strong, devoted men who come in handy. Furthermore, they have active support from 12 to 15 faithful disciples of master Thich Tam Thanh (the group leader). They stay at the centre every day and night, and they process and arrange everything into 12-15kg bags.

"We mix organic vegetables and fruits, sugar, salt, oil, sauces, and 5kg rice bags. Some people say these are the best food bags in the city," he said.

Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
Master Thich Tam Thanh, the group leader, giving out food bags for the needy

As he said, most packages were distributed to people by the group themselves during the first two months. They also support organisations like hospitals, clinics, orphanages, and "zero dong" supermarkets who send their trucks to pick up the things they need.

"We used to go around ourselves with my car or a truck, thanks to the special authorisation we received from the police. Now, it has been impossible for the last month because of the new lockdown constraints. So we now work with the police and the military directly. They come to the centre and even help us with the work sometimes. But usually, they come to collect food bags and manage the whole distribution for us," he said.

Patrick said that "in the beginning, there was about 500kg of food distributed daily, but after one month, the group received a lot more. As a result, they have spread 5-6 tonnes per day over the last two months." He felt that "the work is so meaningful because we gather as a group of disinterested people who just care to help the disadvantaged."

"Every day, we work together with lots of other people who all work on a volunteering basis. They are all happy, supportive, friendly, and hard-working. No matter when the supplies come to us, sometimes late at night or early in the morning, they will come to help. It is worth saying that no one gets money or gets paid to do the work. They do it for free to help the people who need food. No one complains," he shared.

Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
The food is organic so it needs to be cleaned and stored properly
Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
Gaveau Patrick (right) and master Thich Tam Thanh
Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
The military helped to transport the food to recipients
Foreigners and Vietnamese join hands to help the poor
The group helps orphanages, hospitals, and supermarkets to give food for the people

By Truc Anh - Le Toan

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