Czech Republic's Vietnamese community gives free face masks and refreshments to emergency responders, firefighters, police and others
Hundreds of Vietnamese-owned shops featuring the symbol of a heart are offering free refreshments to members of the Army, health care services, police officers and others providing aid to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, assistance for people on the front line who have to be constantly in personal contact with others and don't have much time to grab a snack. In order to make this form of help for people from the Integrated Emergency Services (IZS) easily recognizable, a symbol had to be used that emergency responders, firefighters, police and soldiers would recognize as inviting them for free refreshments.
"We came up with a little heart. Hundreds of retailers who want to assist the IZS units responded," said the initiator of the call to action, Tran Van Sang.
"I believe a retailer who has joined can be found in any town," he said. Despite the fact that Vietnamese people throughout the country were hearing remarks from others at the beginning of the epidemic when they wore face masks, today they are doing their best to get involved with aiding others to be able to protect themselves.
Even before the idea to provide free refreshments there was a Facebook group set up for volunteer seamstresses from the Vietnamese community. An association of Vietnamese parents, "Lam Cha Me CZ", established the group to produce homemade face masks.
Generally speaking, the crisis measures taken by the Czech Government and the lack of protective gear in a pandemic context has, in many cases, kick-started attempts by different civil society organizations and communities to get involved in providing aid. Beneath the slogan "All of Czechia is Sewing", people have begun to sew face masks at home, as have firms that have retrofitted their sewing machines for this purpose.
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