So-called “rice ATMs” have been set up across Vietnam, in cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, and Hanoi. Since many of the more disadvantaged in Vietnam are having difficulty making ends meet due to the coronavirus shutdown of most businesses, creative ways to help those in need have popped up.

The “ATMs” are more like massive stainless steel silos that rain down free uncooked rice through a PVC tube. Those who want to get some free rice simply hold a plastic bag under the dispensing tube and load up.

Where Did the Free Rice ATMs Come From?

Businessmen like Hoang Tuan Anh and donors helped set up the rice-dispensing machine across Vietnam. With thousands of Vietnam’s poorest without work, the free rice ATMs are a welcome gift. Vietnam has gone into a nationwide lockdown starting on March 31. Most businesses, especially smaller ones, have closed their doors. As a result, there are a great deal of people now unable to earn a living. It’s nice to see the spirit of giving is alive and well in Vietnam.

free rice atms in vietnam hanoi

Anyone can come and get some free rice. However, there is a limit to what you can receive. You are able to fill up with 1.5 KG (3.3 LBS) of uncooked rice, which is plenty for any family. People who need rice can always come back the next day and get more rice, if they need it.

The Internet Spreads Awareness of Free Rice ATMs

Some Vietnamese have actually heard about these free rice dispensers from articles on the internet like this one. Once they arrive at one of the rice ATMs, they are asked to stand on what looks like a human chessboard from far away. Special tiles with numbers on them identify where you must stand. Then, your number is called and you can start loading up.

Take a look at this short video to get a glimpse at how it all works.

Overall, Vietnam has less than 300 cases of COVID-19, with not a single reported death. These figures are much lower than almost every other country in the world. The communist government has been remarkably transparent in its efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Some are seeing glimmers of hope that this crisis is turning into a shift towards greater transparency within the Vietnamese government.

While nobody is exactly sure how long these rice ATMs will keep dispensing rice to those less fortunate, they will stay operational at least until April 30th.

The Silver Lining

While you can look at the news and see lots of devastating and harrowing news related to COVID-19, there are also uplifting and inspiring stories and events worth knowing about. Take a look at a couple of other positive developments during this time of coronavirus, like two pandas finally mating after a decade of being in a zoo, as well as a city in northern India being able to see the Himalayas for the first time in decades.

It’s easy to get sucked into the endless cycle of negative news, which is one of the main reasons that Uplift Guide was created. If you have an uplifting, inspiring, or amazing newsworthy story to share, feel free to send it over to us! We are always looking to uplift humanity.