Women's group serves free dinner for needy in HCMC

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For five years now, hundreds of poor people living in the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City have enjoyed the luxury of not being too concerned if their earning for the day is sufficient to have a decent meal before they go to sleep.


A group of 20 women living in Linh Dong Ward of Thu Duc District have been cooking and serving dinner for the needy every day, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said in a report Thursday.


The women are not rich. One of them runs a lunch cafeteria, another runs a grocery store and yet another is a factory worker. Sometimes they have to buy materials for the dinner on credit, but they have not missed a day over the last five years, serving more than 100 poor people in the ward.


Ngo Thi Giang said the project was inspired by her visit to an orphanage in the Central Highlands' Kon Tum Province five years ago.


Giang recalled that the children were fed with instant noodles that had been overcooked so that the children felt full. She began to wonder how poor people in her area manage to fill their stomachs.


Other women in the area began to pitch in, with each member of the group contributing some food or money for the dinner.


"Those who don't have money can still help with the work," said Chinh, a member of the group.


Vu Thi Vui, another member, has saved the front yard in her house for the group to cook the food and for poor people to come receive their dinner.


The women would start cooking at 3 p.m. every day and end late in the evening when there's no more meals to deliver. Each portion would have rice, soup and pork cooked with brine.


Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, one of the beneficiaries, said she sells lottery tickets and cannot earn enough to give her four children a proper dinner every day.


"Since these women serve us dinner, my children don't wake up in the middle of the night and cry due to hunger any more," Phuong said.


Her husband suffers from a mental disease and has been gone for several years, leaving her with four children who are also sick with mental problems.


The dinner group said that they have wished they had more money to offer two meals a day, but as of now, it is not possible.


"We can only provide a good dinner so that poor people, after a day of hard work, can have a good night's sleep as their stomachs are full," Giang said.


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