They prefer to keep things simple by having one goal – help those who cannot afford to help themselves, whether two-legged or four. For those reasons, they’ve had great success at making and onboarding new friends to the team.
“Phuket is filled with like minded individuals that want what is best for the island and for the country as a whole,” explained cofounder Michael Farrell.
Thailand pretty much closed its doors to tourists in 2020 and much like everyone else, they started seeing Phuket’s dependency on tourism firsthand: observing in the news and various media outlets that people were struggling to eat and gain access to basic needs.
“Also seeing the amazing help that other groups like 5 Star Marine were doing led to a realisation that more should and could be done. That is where GRIP IT was born, like a rock band out of a garage, friends just trying to get a message out,” Michael said.
That message is known as “GRIP IT”, which came from Robert, another cofounder, after learning it from a university friend. They liken it to the times in life when actions were taken and superior results were achieved. Think: rescuing a cat out of a tree or scoring the overtime goal in a football match. Even as simple as buying a stranger a meal or stopping to play with a child. And that’s why the initiative is called what it is… because to “GRIP IT” is to take action… and to help others is an ethos for life unto itself.
Since conception, the team has been to many villages around Phuket, amongst areas spread around Kathu, Koh Siray, Chalong and Rawai, where they have brought hot meals, first aid and hygiene kits and life bags to more than 1,500 families. And by doing so, they have begun to understand the people of Phuket more; to learn what they actually need versus what many people think they do, and that this pandemic has stripped them of many of life’s qualities. But also that the people here in Phuket are friendly and happy. “GRIP IT has been humbled,” said Michael.
“Further, the team feels fortunate and would like to thank all of the friends that have given their time and means to support this journey. They’d also like to give a special thank you to Khun Kanit Jitjumnongpakdee for assisting with the first two food drives and to all of the village heads since, for making the events run smoothly.
“Khun Paiboon, aka Johnny, also gets a special thanks for facilitating so much of what keeps the GRIP IT machine running. A team is nothing without its players,” he added.
At the end of November GRIP IT started a clothing campaign with two local gyms, Unit 27 and Alpha, where they will be storing and redistributing clothing for the foreseeable future.
After the success of a clothing drive in the Chalong area, it was clear to them that there is a need for many people to access clothing and that they are in a unique position to provide it.
Anyone reading who wants to donate clothing can contact GRIP IT directly via their Facebook (@gripitforward) and Instagram (@gripit_forward) pages or by visiting either of the gyms… though they also recommend getting in a sweat.
The holidays are here and GRIP IT has decided to try and help 5,000 children across Thailand. A rather ambitious goal, involving the help of many organisations and volunteers.
So watch them on Instagram and Facebook… it’s sure to leave you in the holiday spirit.