Faces of Hunger: Nhi Nguyen - Capital Area Food Bank
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Faces of Hunger: Nhi Nguyen

By Roderick Moore October 27, 2011

Brown Bag recipient Nhi Nguyen feels lucky to have lived in the Winter Hill apartment complex in Falls Church for the past six years. Nhi has overcome considerable hardships to reach a stage in her life where food and shelter are no longer questionable. Moreover, she finally has leisure time to enjoy activities such as attending computer classes through Boat People SOS, sewing and tending to her beautiful garden. But life for Nhi was not always this stable.
Life in Vietnam
Born and raised in Saigon, Nhi’s parents married her off at 17-years-old to a Vietnamese soldier, nine years her senior. She spent her young adult life as a homebody, while raising four children. When her husband was imprisoned in 1975, Nhi became the sole support of the family. Fortunately, three of her children were able to escape to the United States and in 1987 she was able to flee as well, joining her brother and children in Virginia.
Arriving in the U.S.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Nhi quickly searched for work while learning to speak English. She eventually found employment at a donut shop. Customers remember her fondly because of the warmth and happiness she radiated. After eight years of working, however, the business folded and Nhi was forced to find another job.
Nhi’s friend told her about a job opening for a tailor at Syms Department Store. As a young girl, Nhi was always drawn to sewing and eventually taught herself to sew, knit and crochet. Nhi diligently practiced her skills to pass the timed sewing test required of Syms tailors. Practice paid off and she successfully landed the job. Nhi worked 10 years for Syms and just recently retired.
Brown Bag
Since 2008, Nhi has been one of the food bank’s Brown Bag recipients and is truly thankful for the help. Although Nhi worked hard for many years, her earnings were never enough to allow for retirement savings and she found it increasingly difficult to manage on a fixed income. The monthly food assistance from the Brown Bag program is a welcome addition to her pantry.
Nhi is 1 of the 3900 candidates the Capital Area Food Bank hopes to provide for with a bountiful Thanksgiving meal as a result of the Bringing in the Birds with Bucks campaign. Low-income seniors all over the Washington, DC area are struggling. If you can, we hope that you will consider making a donation to support senior citizens this Thanksgiving Day.