“Our neighbours need us. The 800 bags we packed this morning were funded by the amazing team at 5 Star Marine, but we must not leave it all up to them. Please donate what you can today so that we can help more people,” One Phuket organiser Samantha Gayfer posted on the campaign’s official Facebook page.
The initial aim for Saturday was to pack 2,000 Life Bags at Sutai Muay Thai.
“We didn’t raise the THB 200,000 necessary for this week, BUT the team at 5 Star Marine is covering these supplies. Three cheers for them! We need the rest of the community to chip in so we can continue this good work. Please donate what you can as you scroll and take a look at what it looks like to shop for 2,000 Life Bags. Thanks for the wheels Mark & Rebecca Kynaston,” Samantha posted.
The One Phuket initiative is gaining much-needed momentum, and passed a ket milestone last Friday with 500 members now actively engaged in supporting the effort.
The members are finding inspiration in the hard-hitting, heartfelt experiences in meeting the people in need across the island.
One such experience was posted under the title “Let’s Go To Uncle’s House - A Covid Story”, highlighting the plight some of Phuket’s most-affected are being forced to live through.
“As we drive door to door delivering Life Bags to those in need, we often see situations that are heart-wrenching,” explained the post.
“This past week we delivered to ‘Uncle’s House’. No, he’s not my Uncle but this is what he is called in the community. Before Covid, Uncle’s House was just 3 people in one room with no running water and no air conditioning – just a bucket for a shower.
“When Covid hit and people started losing the ability to pay rest or support their family, they sought refuge at Uncle’s House.
“You see, Uncle owns his house, so that makes him very lucky. But, like many, Uncle doesn’t have a job now. So when his house went from 3 people to 7 people, he was stressed about how to feed them.
“There was no job. No money. No help.
“Then as more and more people lost the ability to rent houses they moved into "Uncle’s House".Seven people quickly became 10 people, then 12 people, and now there are 17 people living with Uncle.
“We met Uncle and the 17 people living in his modest home this week. All of them without jobs and no real hope of getting them.
“But this is where the story changes. One Phuket was able to provide 5 Life Bags to this house.
“Uncle and his new family can eat again today. And, for the first time in a long time, Uncle smiled,” the post noted.
“One Phuket is growing quickly. People are working hard – and together – to meet the island’s needs BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP WITH DONATIONS,” the post pointed out.
“People like Uncle now rely on us. So let’s get out there. Let’s spread the word and raise as many funds as we can. I have personally promised I will fill the gaps needed and I will deliver on my promise.
“Now let’s invite others to help us lift up the community. Every 1000 THB helps,” the post concluded.
BUSINESSES STEP UP
Brett Wilson brought the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach team to help with efforts packing Life Bags last week, while Enrico Bratta of Steam Cleaning Phuket, is donating 15% of the total income from services carried out until April 30 to One Phuket.
Katie Hudson, who represents Australian beachwear label Tom & Teddy in Phuket, is donating B500 for every pair of swim shorts for men sold to the effort.
The swim shorts sold at the Around the World in One Day Brunch at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khao Beach over the weekend raised B6,500.
“Thank you Katie. I know your business is equally impacted by the economic crisis, but still you give,” said Andrea Edwards, a key figure in the One Phuket drive.
“To give you an idea, Katie’s donation means we can buy 43 life bags, which typically feeds more than 170 people,” she added.
Katie Hudsoon confirmed that she will continue the contributions until at least the end of April.
“We know many people are struggling to make ends meet regardless of what business you’re in, but if your business can help raise funds or collect donations on site, please come and join us!,” Andrea said.
“We need to raise 200,000 baht every week to buy enough Life Bags to help the people most impacted by this crisis. If we can raise more, we can care for more.”
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
Meanwhile, a collective of musicians, music students and music teachers gathered at Legend Music studio in Koh Kaew last month to record ‘Another Day In Paradise’, which has now been released to help raise funds to support COVID relief efforts across the island.
“Within hours of the video’s release we were receiving donations to One Phuket. Many people don’t like to have video and pictures of the poverty in their faces, so music related videos like ‘Another Day In Paradise’ help in these situations, explained Phuket expat Gary Crause of Legend Music Recording Studio.
“We felt compelled to do that particular song because we live in paradise. Many of us don’t get to see the poverty firsthand, and many don’t even realise how serious the situation is. This helps us bring attention to the problem right now, right here; and pulls on the heart strings to prompt more and more people to get involved!”
LEAN ON ME FEST LIVE
The release of ‘Another Day in Paradise’ comes ahead of the ‘Lean On Me Live Fest’ to be held at the Blue Tree Arena this Saturday (Mar 20), from 3pm.
“Lean On Me Live Fest will feature between 10 and 14 local bands. The concert is free and we will rely on donations from the patrons to raise money for the food charity drives,” Gary explained.