SUAB HMONG NEWS (12/17/2015) — Kou and Bobby Vang provided foods and toys for families without heat and gas at Somerset Village apartment complex in Fresno, California on December 13, 2015.
CLICK HERE for Suab Hmong News exclusive interviewed Kou and Bobby Vang on why and how they provided foods and toys to assist families without heat and gas at the Somerset apartment.
“We received helps and supports from families, friends, and organizations locally and nationally to help us to provide foods and toys for the families without heat and gas at Somerset Village” said Kou Vang.
Kou Vang said he thought that most residents living at Somerset Village were adults but when he visited them, he found out that there are children living there as well that led him to look for helps to get toys to give to them as part of the holiday season.
Below information taken from an article published by Fresno Bee http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article45681864.html
Zach Darrah, executive director of the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, said residents of the Somerset Village Apartments, 2103 N. Angus St., have not had gas service. So the heaters have not worked, nor have the stoves or ovens in the units. Tenants are unable to cook and don’t have hot water.
Somerset Village is one of the largest refugee apartment complexes in Fresno. Consisting of 150 units, it houses at least 500 residents and possibly many more.
Darrah said his agency just learned of this problem because of the tendency of refugees not to speak out about problems. Mostly Southeast Asian people live at the complex. “They’re really cold. They can’t take showers,” said Darrah.
The ministry program contacted Pacific Gas & Electric Co. PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said he could not discuss a customer’s account without permission. “We are aware of the situation, and we’re doing all we can to help. Our first priority always has to be safety. Any situation where we see situations that are unsafe, we are required to work with the property owners to have them corrected.”
Darrah said the complex houses young children and seniors – age groups that are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures.
To help residents cope with the cold, blankets and some heaters were distributed Friday evening.
One challenge aid workers faced: Translators could understand the Lao and Hmong refugees, but some residents are from other Southeast Asian countries. About six languages are spoken by tenants living at the complex.
Among the residents are three women missionaries who notified FIRM of the heating problems.
Jessica de Jager is a missionary from South Africa who lives in the complex and helps the refugee children through a CARE Fresno program.
She said her young students, ages 5 through 12, face tremendous adversity.
“They’re too cold to sleep,” she said. “They’re having trouble focusing. Many are hungry – they are only eating from our vegetable garden. They are too poor to go out and buy take-out.”
Many of the students have not showered for days.
De Jager lives with two other missionaries in an apartment that lost its heat. She said part of her job is to assess the needs of the community.
“My roommates are on their way to buy blankets and heaters to help them.”
Watch the Suab Hmong News to get the full insight exclusive interviewed Kou and Bobby Vang on their helps for families without heat and gas at Somerset Village apartment.