A group of young people in Hanoi have been providing free vegetarian meals to family members of patients at Hanoi Heart Hospital for over one year.
Boxing up food
Set up in July 2011, Tu Tam gathers young people who want to help people with hospitalised family members. With three initial founding members, Tu Tam now has around 20 people participating in the activities.
For over a year, at around 11am on Sundays, a group of Tu Tam club’s members carry vegetarian meals to Hanoi Heart Hospital for family members of patients. The meals are prepared and cooked by the young volunteers.
Mr. Duc, the club’s chairman has used his house as a place for the club’s members to gather and prepare vegetarian meals every week.
Despite being relatively small with narrow stairs, the house has been a hearth for all Tu Tam members. They meet, talk, and prepare meal together.
“We often assign two permanent members of our club to go to the market to buy vegetables at 5am every Sunday. Then several other club members prepare the food for an hour. Three people are responsible for cooking from 8 to 9.30 am. We put cooked food into boxes and start carrying the meals to the hospital at 10 am. Delivery lasts from 11 to 12 am,” said club member Le Binh.
Such meals include rice, vegetarian pie, tofu, vegetables and sour soup.
Most members of the clubs are both students and office workers. Some elderly women have also joined the youths.
In order to fund their operations, the club’s members make a financial contribution and seek donations from friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. With their faith, enthusiasm and well-organised apparatus, Tu Tam has attracted the participation of many people.
The 130-170 vegetarian meals the group cooks every Sunday cost around VND1 million (USD47.93).
Every Saturday afternoon, they assign two members to the hospital to talk to patients and deliver the meal tickets. They then prepare meals based on the number of delivered tickets.
The free meals have been highly appreciated.
“We’d like to say thank you to Tu Tam for their work. Their meals are good and we’re very happy to receive them,” a visitor calling in on their sick relative said.