Long-term Phuket expat Wal Brown, owner of Sweet Restaurant in Patong, who launched the campaign with Tony Love Linay of Tong Fa Massage and Spa, told The Phuket News that 520 contribution bags were handed out today, twice the usual daily number.
“The bags today also contained twice the standard amount of food staples so that people will have food to last longer,” Wal said.
The campaign has come to an end as the donations have dried up, Wal explained.
“We have spent over B600,000 in donations over the past three months, altogether providing more than 20,000 meals,” he noted.
“We have done our part over the past three months. Now it is the government’s job, but sending people back to work when there are no tourists has not helped,” said Wal, who earlier this year was bestowed the Order of Australia national award for his service to the community.
Wal gave all the credit to the Thai staff at Sweet Restaurant and at Tong Fa Massage and Spa for their efforts throughout the campaign, with a special mention for Promprom Thongtham.
“They’ve really done all the work. They bought and packed the bags, organised the deliveries and worked with local officials to make this happen, and Tony organised all the funds from Australia,” he said.
“It has been very rewarding for all the Thai staff to be involved in this, to give so much to so many,” he added.
However, the problem is far from over, Wal noted.
“The level of poverty some people are living in in Patong is appalling. You have to walk to the end of small soi’s at the back of moo baan (neighbourhoods), but it is there. And some of the conditions, when you see it, hits you hard, especially when you see what little children are living in,” Wal explained.