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Experiencing the Joy of Volunteering at No-Cost Kitchens

Desire to Share Difficulties with Poor Workers, for over 2 years, the $0 kitchen of Youth Union members, Youth Union P.9 (TP. Vinh Long, Vinh Long) has remained vibrant.

Everyone Contributes What They Can

Mr. Le Duy Nam, Secretary of Youth Union P.9 (TP. Vinh Long, Vinh Long), said that the $0 kitchen was born during the strong outbreak of Covid-19 in 2021 to share some of the difficulties of poor workers. At that time, every month, the kitchen organized cooking for 4 – 5 days, with over 200 portions per day.

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The $0 kitchen of young volunteers in green shirts

After the pandemic receded, they often witnessed the hardships of poor workers trying to make a living. Youth Union P.9 decided to continue the $0 kitchen until now. “”Now, each meal costs about 20,000 VND, plus a bottle of water for 5,000 VND. To be able to buy this, lottery ticket sellers have to work hard to sell 25 tickets. We were so touched that we decided to maintain this voluntary kitchen, hoping to share delicious meals and cool water with our fellow citizens on their difficult journey,”” shared Mr. Nam.

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Delicious and hot meals carefully prepared by the volunteers

Initially, the $0 kitchen faced a shortage of funds, and there were times when they thought they had to stop. Fortunately, Youth Union members and young people collectively contributed money from their pockets and actively mobilized support from friends and families to keep the kitchen running. To date, the $0 kitchen has had a positive impact. Youth Union members and young people contribute with the spirit of “”everyone contributes what they can.”” Some contribute money, some contribute labor. Especially, kind-hearted people also enthusiastically support with rice, ingredients, spices, etc.

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Students also volunteer in meaningful activities during the summer break

Currently, the $0 kitchen shares love on the full moon day and the 30th day of the lunar month. Each batch serves from 150 to 200 meals. On major full moon days, Mr. Nam collaborates with Yen Ngoc vegetarian restaurant to cook over 1,000 meals to give to the community.

To diversify the menu so that the diners don’t get bored, Mr. Nam alternates between dishes such as rice, noodles, and vegetarian bread, and also provides milk and bottled water.

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A fixed food distribution point for the convenience of the recipients

A Gathering Place for Volunteer Hearts

Mr. Nam said that dozens of Youth Union members and young people participate in the $0 kitchen. On the day of cooking, the group prepares ingredients, pre-processes them, and wakes up early to cook and pack them into boxes. Then, they distribute them at 2 fixed points: Park P.9 and Vinh Long City Health Center. Another group travels by car on various routes in P.9 to deliver free meals.

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Members of the $0 kitchen deliver meals directly to the elderly and disabled

“”Among the meal recipients, there are many disabled and elderly people. Our members study and understand their rest times, the routes they move on… to deliver directly. Our volunteers are always caring in their words and actions, making the recipients feel warm when receiving support, no matter how small,”” said Mr. Nam.

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Even lottery ticket sellers receive meals directly

Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong, Secretary of Block 4, P.9, has been participating in this meaningful activity since its inception. She is responsible for cooking and feels happy to be able to prepare delicious and nutritious meals to help the needy have enough to eat and continue to make a living.

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Young volunteers roam the streets of District 9 to distribute meals to frail elderly individuals.

Ms. Nguyễn Thị Bé Hai (65 years old, residing in District 9) shared that she feels deeply moved when receiving these meaningful food packages. Along with them come words of encouragement, support, and caring inquiries, just like from family members, from the young volunteers.

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Significant gifts to support underprivileged students

In addition to maintaining the zero-dong kitchen, the young volunteers also organize many meaningful volunteer activities during the Summer Youth Volunteer Campaign. They especially focus on mobilizing donations for sports equipment, books, and uniforms for underprivileged students. Recently, they have distributed 30 valuable gifts (each worth over 500,000 VND) to these students…

(Source: Thanh Niên Newspaper)

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