Act of Kindness Provides Masks For More Than 400 in East Arlington
By Office of Communication
Posted on April 21, 2020, April 21, 2020

Ben Thanh plaza

A giveaway on Saturday at Ben Thanh Plaza in East Arlington provided cloth face masks, hand sanitizer and food for more than 400 people.

The act of kindness came together after David Dang, the owner of the shopping center at 1818 E. Pioneer Parkway, saw a need to help his neighbors, particularly senior citizens who are vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With the coronavirus everybody is affected by this, but the people most affected are the elderly. They don’t want to get out because they are the most high risk,” says Dang, adding that finding masks to buy can be difficult and not everyone can make their own.

“People feel left behind a little bit, so I came up with an idea. I talked to friends and I said, ‘Let’s do something to help the elderly.’”

Dang, a leader in Arlington’s Asian American community, gathered about $2,500 from community members and donated $6,000 of his own money to fund Saturday’s event. Volunteers also helped sew masks and distribute items to those who attended on Saturday.

Though the grocery store inside Ben Thanh Plaza remains open, some other stores and the food court dining area are closed. That gave those gathered extra room to maintain a safe social distance, Dang says.

About 330 people pre-registered for the event and another 100 people showed up on Saturday. Dang said everyone who attended was provided with two to four face masks, a bottle of hand sanitizer, as well as a bag of rice and box of noodles.

Ben Thanh, which opened in 2016, now has more than 50 specialty businesses representing Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotian, Thai and Philippine cultures. Dang said giving back to the community is part of his business’ mission.

“As long as I can afford it, I’m happy to give back to the community,” Dang says.

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Coronavirus, Kindness Initiative, East Arlington
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