Coronavirus crisis: Vietnamese restaurants in Orange County provide meals to medical workers, the homeless and seniors

The businesses each prepared 1,975 meals for those on the front lines of the epidemic, as well as the community's most vulnerable.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- In March ABC7 reported a story about local nail salons donating masks and gloves to health care workers. That report inspired some Vietnamese-American restaurants in Orange County wanted to do their part to give back to the community.

They're not just donating masks, they're also delivering food.

Workers at the Recess Room recently pulled an all-nighter while getting ready for the biggest delivery yet.

"Just to support the health care workers who are on the front lines right now," said Sonlam Nguyen of 7 Leaves Cafe.

The meals have been provided at no cost to hospitals including Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley.

"Dozens of restaurants have been delivering like 1,000 meals so far," said Tam Nguyen.

Tam Nguyen, the president of Advance Beauty College, says a movement of generosity gained momentum just weeks ago after our story aired on ABC7 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nail industry.

"It's been heart-wrenching hearing the stories," said Nguyen on March 30.

Coronavirus: SoCal nail salons donate masks, gloves to health care workers
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While thousands of nail salons across SoCal are closed, many owners have come together to try to give back in another way.

Through a new campaign, "Nailing it for Healthcare Workers," nail salons and suppliers donated hundreds of thousands of masks and gloves.

Now, as the anniversary of the fall of Saigon approaches, 20 Vietnamese-American-owned restaurants are also giving back.

"There are volunteers who have committed to 10-thousand food and drink items in one day," said Nguyen.

Nguyen says deliveries will go to medical workers, grocery store employees, seniors and homeless shelters across Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Nguyen says the organizers are also calling on other Vietnamese-American communities across the U.S. to join them April 30 for a national day of giving back.

"It's also going to be a day when we solemnly commemorate the fall of Saigon, and also highlight the rise of Vietnamese-Americans in helping with front-line workers to conquer COVID-19," said Nguyen.

In addition to the food deliveries, 1,975 thank-you cards in a symbolic remembrance of 1975, the year marking the fall of Saigon.
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