Disabled kung-fu master helps feed the poor in HCMC

By Quynh Tran   August 9, 2021 | 03:56 am PT
Despite losing a leg, martial arts master Ta Anh Dung drives around Covid epicenter HCMC everyday to provide people in need free meals.

For more than two months, Dung has been driving around distributing food to those in need from morning to evening.
"During the semi-lockdown period in Saigon, many people had lost their jobs and faced food shortages. I felt sorry for many homeless people on the street. So I and members of my volunteer group try to lend a helping hand," the 62-year-old said.


Volunteer work starts at 10:30 a.m. daily. From his house on Pham The Hien Street in District 8, he drives eight kilometers to the volunteer group's home kitchen in Binh Chanh District to pick up the free meals.
Having lost a leg at the age of 21 due to an accident, Dung is still able to swim, practice martial arts and run marathons. His main job now is to teach traditional martial arts to children, retirees and foreigners.


Around 200 servings are neatly packed into a foam box.
This is one of the three home kitchens of the 'Tam Long Chung' (Common Heart) volunteer group that he has joined for seven years ago. Every day, the group calls on benefactors to receive about 1,000 free meals for the poor. Besides cooked meals, the group also provides vegetables, rice, fish sauce, salt and others to support people living in isolation and blockade areas.


He drives 60 kilometers between different districts everyday. On Highway 50, the section through Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh District, traffic police typically let him pass since they know him as a volunteer.
"My commute is quite convenient since I got a pass from Vietnam Fatherland Front. Many functional force members are familiar with my face, so they don’t check my documents," he said.


Meeting a male security guard working at a building on Highway 50, Dung stopped to hand him a packed lunch. Everyone must wash and disinfect their hands before receiving meals.
"For more than a month now, the building I work for has been closed so there is no place to spend the night. I had to build a hut in front of the door to stay. I face many supply shortages, so I’m very grateful when receiving free meals every day," the guard said.

Having just finished distributing rice to security guards, Mr. Dungs team went across the street to take care of lunch for homeless people living next to a garbage collection point. This whole month, the groups meals helped them endure the pandemic.

Having just finished distributing rice to a security guard, Dung's team crossed the street to provide meals to homeless people living next to a garbage collection point.


After receiving the meal, Be immediately opened up the lunch box and started eating.
"I have collected bottles, wandered around the streets and slept on the sidewalk for 20 years, but I have never found it as difficult as now. For the past two months, I have had almost no money. Every day,I just hope benefactors would not abandon me," he said.


Around 2:30 p.m., after finishing with100 meals, he returned to the kitchen to have lunch, rest, and then pick up more meals to distribute. He usually finds a corner by the roadside to avoid contact with people.


His face is imprinted with the marks of masks and goggles, worn for hours on end.
Dung said: "After every day distributing meals, I still feel there are many poor people who need my help. Now I just hope our group would receive more support we always have enough food to distribute."


After about 15 minutes of rest, the one-legged kung-fu master visited more streets, alleys, temporary residences and others to handout free meals for the low-income families.

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