With local tourism decimated and ensuing restrictions and lockdowns seriously hampering businesses across the island, thousands of families have lost 100% of their income and migrant workers remain in their camps facing starvation. Many fall through the cracks of the help provided by the government for various reasons.
Help Phuket Today is a grassroots charity started by local Thai and Expat volunteers helping desperately poor Thai and migrant families whose incomes and lives have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charity provides weekly food packages to those most affected, relying on the kindness of residents of each subdistrict to locate and feed the families that are in dire need of their assistance, something particularly pertinent during the recent Tambon lockdown across the island.
Another aim is to empower volunteers in other subdistricts to find vulnerable families, and coordinate their own team to gather donations and distribute food.
“The situation in Phuket is desperate for some families who, beacuse of the glocal pandemic, have had no income for the last month,” commented Sara Al-Sayer, a volunteer and the charity’s administrator.
“Help Phuket today is a group of people, both Thai and expat, who are trying to give back to the island that has given them so much joy over the years,” she added.
“The money that they raise goes 100% towards helping poor families on the brink of starvation. The aim is to empower each subdistrict to help families within their area do the same – either by volunteering their time or by donating money or food.
“It costs just B350 to feed one family for a whole week. That may be nothing to many of us, however it means survival to these families,” Ms. Al-Sayer concluded.
Expanding on what Ms. Al-Sayer mentioned above, there are numerous ways you can help:
The full 100% of your donation will go to helping the extremely vulnerable families who have confirmed that they desperately need food. With this money, Help Phuket Today buys the goods in bulk and makes up packs with the essentials needed by these families in order to survive. We also purchase nappies, sanitary pads for women, soap, laundry detergent or anything else that we deem essential to their survival.
The most recent campaign raised B157,500 in four days and additional donation drives are ongoing. Anyone interested in donating directly can contact: email@example.com
Alternatively bank transfers can be made to:
Name: Lakana Sukhsuchit & Jemmit Tammapichai
Bank Ref: Food for Poor Donation
The standard food pack costs just B350 and consists of:
- 5KG bag of rice
- 1 bottle of oil
- 5 tins of sardines
- 30 eggs
- 1 small bottle of fish sauce
- 10 packets of noodles
However, the chairty also welcome other items such as cookies, sanitary napkins, nappies, baby milk, soap, masks and laundry detergent. These can be placed in the Food Banks at the following Villa Market locations:
- Villa Market in Boat Lagoon - The box/trolley will be on the left side of Villa as you walk in
- Villa Boat Avenue - The box/trolley will be just inside the entrance of the supermarket.
- Villa Chalong - The box/trolley will be between the two entrances to Villa
You can order directly online from Villa Market by writing “donation” in the comments box and select “pickup”. If you wish to donate your food to a specific part of the island, please add it to the comment field too.
PLEASE maintain a social distance while depositing your items your donations.
You can help with the packing and distribution of food in your subdistrict. You can also help by becoming a drop of point for food donations. If you wish to help with distribution, please follow the following guidelines:
The local Government has stated that it appreciates the efforts of all those helping people in need. However, it is important to ensure that we avoid spreading COVID-19 too. So please follow these Guidelines :-
1. The local Or Bor Tor or police MUST be informed in advance of any donation effort and give their approval. This allows the local administration to send police as needed to assist with social distancing and to ensure proper measures are being followed.
2. All surfaces, like tables, being used must be fully disinfected and cleaned. Everyone, including those in line, must wear masks. Gloves need to be used by those handing out food. Hand sanitizer must be provided and used prior to giving out food. Temperature checks were not specifically mentioned but are highly encouraged according to police.
3. Social distancing standards must be followed. There must be proper space, recomended at 2 meters, between people in line as well as staff giving food away. Only essential items should be given out, like food and water. Extras, alcohol, money, clothing, electronics, etc. should not be given out as it causes large gatherings.
4. The process must be encouraged to be quick and limit times of people gathering around the give away areas. There should be a high level of focus on getting people through the process as quickly as possible to limit time interacting or around other people.
1. Photos on social media must clearly show that these Social Distancing guidelines are being followed. Avoid using any photos with people standing or handing out food in close proximity.
2. Do not show personal bank details. It is suggested to inform people that they can Private Message you to get further details on how to help. In order to help in this way, please contact Kath Cumming on + 66 650503464.
Identify Vulnerable Families:
There are so many families in Phuket who need help, often identified by looking for tin roofs in each neighbourhood. The tin roofs are often camps filled with the families of migrant workers. Once a family has been identified, you can contact Sara Al-Sayer +66 984093203 to add them to our distribution list. If you would like to help in this way, it is very important that you follow the following guidelines:
1. The local Or Bor Tor or police MUST be asked if it is ok to help in the camps.
2. Permission needs to be given by the camp owner for you to enter the camp. This is very important because if you do not have permission you could be arrested. You will find that they are keen for help and so will always grant permission.
3. Please make sure to ask the following questions:
i. Have they been able to access food?
ii. How many families are in the camp? (This information sometimes needs to be verified because they are not always honest).
iii. Have they got water and is their tank full?
iv. If there is no electricity do they have gas to cook with?
v. Are there babies, pregnant women or children in the camp with them?
4. Once this information has been established, explain that you will be back as soon as possible with food packages. This is when you would coordinate with Help Phuket Today directly, or with your local subdistrict if you can to buy the necessary food and deliver it to them.