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Apr 20, 2020 / 10:45

Charity acts warm the poor’s hearts in Hanoi in pandemic time

Many benefactors are giving free meals, face masks and essential items to alleviate the hardships of the destitute in Hanoi city every day during Covid-19 pandemic time.

Times of crisis can often bring out the best in people. The Covid-19 evolution remains unpredictable in Hanoi, thus deeds of many kindhearted Hanoians’ have been of great encouragement for the poor’ hearts in the capital city to overcome the pandemic time.

The shining examples not only show kindness of Vietnamese people amid the pandemic, but also surprise a lot of foreigners in Vietnam and in the world.

Donation of food and essential items

Many benefactors are giving free meals, face masks and essential items to alleviate the hardships of the destitute people in Hanoi city every day during Covid-19 pandemic time.

The Hanoi city government has urged shops that sell non-essential goods and provide services to temporarily shut down to prevent Covid-19 from spreading. Although people agreed with the authority move, it has also made life of the poor more difficult, leaving some with no means to earn a living from.

Therefore, kindhearted Hanoians have provided food for free to the destitute who have been left with no livelihoods due to the nationwide business shutdown to prevent the pandemic, working under the motto “Take one if you are in hardship. But if you are well, leave it for others" (XQ group).


XQ group prepares donations for the poor at a point near the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion. Photo: Ngan Nguyen

Another charity program has been underway in the capital city is “Sharing food every day, together overcoming Covid-19" - “You need it, you take it” to provide free meals to the destitute people.

"The enthusiastic support of the community surprises me. Many join my campaign quietly. The pandemic reveals many people in dire situation and need special attention from the community," said Nguyen Phan Huy Khoi, a businessman who initiated the program.

'Zero dong' Happy supermarket in Hanoi aids vulnerable people

Besides food charities to help the underpriviledged overcome Covid-19 pandemic, a 'zero dong' Happy supermarket chain has opened its store in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district since April 13 to provide essential goods for the underprivileged people who are struggling with difficulties.

The supermarkets aim to supply people with essential goods such as rice, cooking oil, eggs, salt, sugar, among others. People can “buy” items worth a maximum street value of VND100,000 (US$4.3) each visit at no cost.


'Zero dong' Happy supermarket in Hanoi aids vulnerable people. Photo: Duy Khanh

The "Zero dong" Happy stores have been opened in Hanoi and seven other provinces, and will stay on until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On the first day, 400 local residents came to the supermarket in Hanoi and throughout the chain, a thousand people visited our supermarkets,” said Nguyen Quang Huy, a representative of the program.

Rice ATMs operated in Hanoi to help needy people against Covid-19

Starting from April 11, the two rice dispensers operated in Hanoi are really of great support for underprivileged people.

Automatic rice dispensing machines, more commonly known as rice ATM dispensers in Hanoi, have been set up to help those who are stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic and become international media spotlight.


The rice dispenser starts giving out rice for free from 8:00 to 17:00 every day until April 30. Photo: Duy Khanh

CNN reported that “a machine that gives out free rice - it sounds too good to be true”. Other international media agencies also paid attention to Vietnam’s rice ATM dispensers.

The article titled "Rice ATMs’ provide free rice for people out of work in Vietnam" on CNN have been reposted by many other international newspapers and numerous comments on social networks praised this idea of rice ATMs. The article has been shared thousands of times in the past days.

Little kids act big

In the early days of the pandemic, when hand sanitizers and face masks at pharmacies became somewhat scarce, a fourth grader in Hanoi, Nguyen Ngoc Trinh, donated VND3,180,000 (US$140) of her lucky money to the Hanoi Youth Union so that more face masks and hand sanitizers can be purchased to help poor people in the community.

 Nguyen Ngoc Trinh donates US$140 of her lucky money to help poor people. Photo: Mai Anh

Trinh shared her idea that she would work with her classmates in a project on raising awareness of Covid-19 prevention. In addition to spreading information about the outbreak and common preventive measures, they also donated face masks and hand sanitizers to needy children across Hanoi.

Trinh’s kind support was replicated in many other provinces, one such is Nghe An, where the Northwestern Nghe An General Hospital received over VND14 million (US$600) from a pair of sisters, eight-year-old Tran Bao Ngan and five-year-old Tran Bao Tran.

Deep gratitude and appreciation from the poor

Many patients and their relatives at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) cried when they received donation from XQ group when the Covid-19 pandemic is raging.


Vu Thi Nhan burst into tears when receiving donation from the charity group. Photo: Ngan Nguyen

Vu Thi Nhan, 50, from Hai Duong province burst into tears and told Hanoitimes that her 25-year-old son is a patient of blood cancer. “These days are so difficult for my family as we fight against the epidemic and look after our son,” Nhan said.

"I am truly grateful to kindhearted people who give food to the poor like us," Nhan said, weeping that she currently has no income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Xuan Bach, 70, from Hai Phong city, also lined up to receive food donations from the charity group. "The donation we received today are not only food and necessities, but also a powerful source of encouragement for us," said Bach.

Nguyen Hoai Anh, a member of XQ group, said that the group aims to share with people in difficult circumstances and encourage each other to try to overcome the hard time.

"In the pre-pandemic time, we did many charity programs at the NIHBT. During the pandemic, we have given donations to the poor from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily at ten points across Hanoi city. Not only once, we come here every day to help them," Hoai Anh told Hanoitimes.