Although the reports of COVID-19 in Vietnam are relatively low (with 267 cases and zero deaths as of April 151), social distancing measures have led to the closures of several small businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs.2
Hoang Tuan Anh, a businessman in Ho Chi Minh City, decided to find a way to help those negatively impacted by the recent restrictions. Reuters reports that Anh “had initially donated a batch of smart doorbells to hospitals in HCM City before turning his technological expertise to food distribution.”3 Now, what started in Ho Chi Minh City has spread to cities like Hanoi, Hue, and Danang, Vietnam.
In Hanoi, the distribution is set to take place daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm until April 30. These machines will dispense 3 kilograms of rice per person for free, or until the rice supply runs out.4 In Hue, volunteers are giving out 2kg of rice per person at several sites across the city in order to avoid large gatherings.5 Donors like these hope to increase their efforts in several more districts and cities throughout Vietnam.
Anh told Reuters his hope is to assure those less fortunate that “there are still good people out there who want to give them a second chance.”6 These examples can stand to remind us of the very principles we find in Scripture:
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (Proverbs 19:17)
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
1. COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Johns Hopkins University. Posted on coronavirus.jhu.edu, accessed April 15 2020.
2. Lee, A. 'Rice ATMs' provide free rice for people out of work in Vietnam due to the coronavirus crisis. CNN. Posted on cnn.com April 13, 2020, accessed April 30, 2020.
3. Duong, Y. 'Rice ATM' feeds Vietnam's poor amid virus lockdown. Reuters. Posted on reuters.com April 13, 2020, accessed April 15, 2020.
4. Minh, N. Rice 'ATM' in Hanoi helps underprivileged overcome COVID-19. Hanoi Times. Posted on hanoitimes.vn April 12, 2020, accessed April 15, 2020.
5. Hue, Da Nang cities set up free ‘rice ATMs’. Vietnam News Agency. Posted on en.vietnamplus.vn April 13, 2020, accessed April 29, 2020.
*Ivana Semidey is Customer Service Specialist for the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History.
A Second Chance from a Rice ATM