Making a difference Asia Vietnamese Carmelites Feed the Masses COVID-19 continues to bring challenges to people around the world. Carmelite ministries around the world have responded to the needs of the people they serve as well as those they live around. For the last 3 years, the Carmelites of the Province of St. Elias Commissariat of Vietnam have been providing food to its neighbours but for the last three weeks, when the 4th wave of COVID came on the scene, Vietnam has been hard hit. The response of the members of the Commissariat has been to redouble their efforts to make sure that people have the food they need on a regular basis. Particular efforts have been directed to the immigrants from the countryside who come to town for employment. Many of the buildings near the Carmelite ministries have rooms that these workers rent to sleep in. Since the recent increase in COVID infections, strict quarantines have been imposed and movement has been very limited, Daily curfews have been in place, especially in Saigon where the Carmelites have four priories. The supply of food available and accessible to the people has become severely limited. The situation is complicated by the placement of fences everywhere in order to control movement. “You are not allowed to leave your particular neighborhood. Everyone is literally fenced in,” reports Provincial Commissary Joseph Hung Tran, O. Carm. “Everything is closed. No one is working. No stores are open. These people can only stay in their rooms whereas normally they are only there to sleep.” Because of the generosity of the friends and benefactors of the Carmelites, a lot of food—especially rice, vegetables, and fish—has been available for the Carmelites to distribute. “Our neighbours are immigrants who are workers on daily wages. We try to provide rice and some food for them as there are more than 1,000 rooms around our priories but no one is working. So far we have distributed over 13 tons of rice. We have also had a lot of vegetables and fish to give out as well,” said Fr. Hung. “People were very concerned about us. But we have enough food. So we are now busy making the food available to those who have no way of getting the food they need." The Provincial Commissary of Vietnam was established on March 19, 2019. It currently has 45 members with 4 houses. 10 of the members study and work in the parishes of the province in the United States. Four are currently studying in Rome. It is only with donations from Society of the Little Flower’s supporters that we can continue to support projects such as the Provincial Commissary of Vietnam, who form prayerful communities at the service of all God’s people. You can make a regular or one off donation here.