Photos: South Bay mothers give to others on special day

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SAN JOSE — On Mother’s Day, instead of letting others pamper them, four mothers and other volunteers came together to help out other mothers, handing out meals and flowers to people in hundreds of cars lined up outside of the Grand Century Mall.

“We’re here, and we care about this country and this community,” said one of the organizers Jennifer Chung. “We want to spread compassion and inspire our community at large.”

The Meals of Love care packages included groceries,  with fruits and vegetables, trung thit kho (a traditional Vietnamese egg and beef stew), noodles — and masks and gloves.

About three dozen small businesses and nonprofits banded together to give out 10,000 meals: 5,000 meals to the community and 5,000 meals to health care workers, first responders, seniors and those in women’s shelters.

“Today is about the strength of mothers and the resiliency of our community,” said Thien-Nhien Luong, one of the organizers, “stepping up during a time of emergency crisis and needs.”

Meals of Love, started three years ago by Tina Tien, is a collaboration that brings nonprofits together, with Hunger at Home and Light Dream Foundation often taking part. This Mother’s Day event was organized by five women, four of them mothers: Tina Tien, owner of Rong Bien Restaurant; Helen Nong with Mustard Seed Calling; Kelly La, Sleeping Bags for the Homeless; Thien-Nhien Luong, Vietnamese American Nongovernment Organization (VANGO) Network; and Jennifer Chung, president of “Forever Beaumore” and Miss Asian American 2014.

Tien, owner of Rong Bien Restaurant and a mother of three children ages 28, 26, 18, says her kids always support her charity efforts. “It’s Mother’s Day; it’s a beautiful day we give out the food,” she said. “We’re struggling during COVID-19, but we are still strong and we support the people because they need it.”

Tien says they cooked more than 4,000 eggs for the Vietnamese beef and egg stew.

State Assemblyman Ash Kalra attended the event along with David Cohen, a District 4 San Jose City Council candidate. “I think it’s appropriate on Mother’s Day we are here, recognizing these incredible organizations coming together,” Kalra said. “So many incredible leaders in the Vietnamese-American community are recognizing that this is our moment to step up, this is our moment to show how much we care about our fellow neighbors.”

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Author: Nhat V. Meyer

Mercury News Business