YWAM Mercy has been working in one Hoai Duc village for the last few years, helping farmers increase their income and provide safe farm products for consumers. This village has the advantage of being an agricultural production hub situated very close to the Hanoi city center. When the pandemic situation worsened in the city, and the greater Hanoi area went into lockdown, they realized they had the opportunity to help other areas where food supply was short.
Our project Board of Management for this village, together with the local Women’s Union Steering Board, were able to gather 1.2 tonnes of vegetable, fruits, eggs and rice to be distributed to people in five nearby industrialized villages which were in very strict lockdown because they had active COVID cases.
This proactive effort helped the farmers too, as over the two months of lock down they were not able to sell their farm products through their usual marketing channels. This way they could sell them for a modest cost to these other locations, both feeding needy people and providing some income. Some of the neediest families were given these vegetables at no cost, while others were purchased at a reduced price. To accomplish this, partnership with local leaders in both sending and receiving villages was needed to get permission transport these goods out of the local area.
Individuals volunteered to collect the products and transport them to where they were needed. This was a high-risk activity but they were willing to do it to help those who were struggling. This involved taking many COVID tests and these volunteers were prioritized to receive the vaccine, to ensure they kept themselves and others safe. Many also helped to staff checkpoints to control entry into their area to keep their villages safe.
The local Women’s Union has been proactive, calling for support both cash and in-kind from other social organizations and local business and acting as a bridge to bring help to families in difficulties in their village and other villages in the area. They were even able to raise support for a local Retirement Home. Some sweets and candy businesses contributed 70 gift packages for children. These activities created a more caring community through these difficult times.