Almost 200 high school students in Hà Nội attended a month-long ‘food project’ to collect enough leftover food from hotels and restaurants for 1,500 rations to donate to poor inpatients in hospitals and other needy people in slums in the city.
The project, which wrapped up on November 4 of this year, is part of the Global Citizen Program launched by AIESEC — the world’s largest youth-run organization, covering over 113 nations and boasting 86,000 members.
AIESEC offers young people the opportunity to be global citizens, to change the world, and to gain experience and skills that matter today.
Within a month, they went to 34 restaurants, hotels and cake shops in Hanoi to collect leftover food which was still edible, reprocess it, maintain it, and then distribute it to needy people.
Around 1,500 rations of such food were delivered to residents in SOS villages in Hòa Bình, Hữu Nghị andHà Nội, patients in hospitals and homeless people.
Nhật Hồng, an 11th grader at Hà Nội – Amsterdam school, said:
“Teams sometimes had to stay up late till 1:00 or 2:00 to set up plans, prepare reports, and discuss with volunteers.”
Lê Đình Thịnh, a sophomore at Hà Nội Foreign Trade University, shared that teammates had to contact many restaurants to identify potential venues for leftover food.
Some volunteers contacted not less than 20 restaurants to finalize the 34 venues, he added.
Surpassing difficulties, volunteers found happiness and joy in bringing food to the poor.
A 10th grader named Trịnh Minh Phươngg recalled:
“My fear and embarrassment disappeared while talking and eating together with inpatients and handicapped children.
I was happy to see them smile.”
Another volunteer, Lê Thị Thùy Linh, recalled the hardships of poor people in a slum called Văn Phúc.
“Ten people and a 2-year-old kid stay in a warehouse they rent.
Lights are lit up by a battery generator.
I blame myself for having wasted food before.”
The volunteers of the project received sincere thanks from the recipients.
A woman named Lành from central Nam Định province said while receiving food:
“I will share this food with other families in my area.
Thank you all.”
A street sanitation worker on Trần Hưng Đạo street suggested:
“Did you distribute food to poor children living in Văn Chuong?
I have a friend who told me there are many poor people there.”
Besides giving food, the volunteers also gave encouragement to patients by decorating hospital rooms and singing.
“I saw some inpatient kids here smile though they are suffering from painful diseases. These gifts help,” said a mother of a hospital inpatient.
Hồng Hạnh, food director of Sofitel Plaza Hotel said:
“We highly appreciate the job of volunteers.
Their motivation changes us. Sofitel Plaza is willing to give them food.”