It was pitch dark at 4:40am when the patients’ relatives began lining up with bowls and lunch boxes ready to pack up a free meal for their sickly and injured loved ones.
Volunteers serve free breakfasts to poor patients at Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)
The line outside the guesthouse at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City was a grateful one. Most were so poor that if the volunteers from the Poor Patient Sponsor Association hadn’t begun serving free breakfasts, they would have gone without.
A lorry carrying hot meals from the association’s Nhon Hoa Poor Patient Sponsor Branch slowly pulled up in front of the guesthouse.
By 5am, poor patients were being served their meals, and the “thank yous” were being passed around abundantly.
Ms. Muoi from the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang, who has taken care of her brother’s head injuries since he was in a traffic accident two months ago, said the free breakfast had helped ease the financial her family had been suffering from ever since her brother was hospitalized.
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan from the Mekong Delta Province of Long An has been loking after her father, a serious burn victim, at the hospital for a long time.
She said she was eternally grateful to the volunteers from bringing the free food.
Most of people gathered that morning said they hoped that the free breakfasts could be provided not only at Cho Ray Hospital, but also other hospitals as well.
Volunteer Ba Tam said that he and his friends had begun preparing the food at 11pm the night before. He said they cooked until 3am but still felt happy sharing the fruits of their labor with unlucky people.
The free breakfast program for poor patients was begun by the Nhon Hoa Poor Patient Sponsor Branch and Cho Ray Hospital in early March this year.
In just three months, the project has provided 50,000 rations, including rice dishes, porridge, noodles and bread, worth VND300 million (US$16,000) in total.