'Rice ATMs' in Vietnam Are Dispensing Food for People Without Work Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (Video)
"With this one bag of rice, we can have enough for one day."
A machine operating at all hours on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City is dispensing free rice for people out of work during Vietnam’s national coronavirus lockdown.
Dubbed 'Rice ATMS,' anyone coming to collect rice from the dispensers must wait in line while standing six feet apart and use hand sanitizer before filling up.
“This rice ATM has been helpful. With this one bag of rice, we can have enough for one day,” Nguyen Thi Ly, a 34-year-old mother of three whose husband lost his job, told Reuters. “Now, we only need other food. Our neighbors sometimes gave us some leftover food, or we have instant noodles.”
Attendants monitor the machines to ensure that there's enough for everyone.
“I refer to this machine as a ‘rice ATM’ because people can withdraw rice from it," said Hoang Tuan Anh, the tech Vietnamese businessman behind the initiative told state media. "There are still good people out there who want to give them a second chance."
Similar machines have been set up by businessmen and donors throughout the country.
According to Hanoi Times, another machine in Hanoi will run until the end of April, or until the rice runs out. Additionally, rice machines in the city of Hue will be available for those in need at least through the end of June, VNA News reported.
Vietnam has reported 267 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But because the country has been on lockdown since March 31, many businesses have been forced to shutter and furlough employees.
All around the world, people have been coming together to help feed others during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chef Jose Andres’s World Central Kitchen is bringing chefs together to cook meals for healthcare workers and laid-off hourly workers, among others, while a Michelin star restaurant in Denmark is now feeding the homeless while they're closed due to the pandemic.
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