The “COVID 19 Appeal 14th April 2020” campaign began just 12 days ago, and after two days raising support was able to deliver 350 relief bags to people in need.
The campaign was inspired by Rawai Food Relief efforts launched by Nick Fawcus Robsinson of ScubaNicks, explains Dave “HalfwayInn” Wilson, who opened the Halfway Inn in Soi Kebsup, Patong, nine years ago.
So far, the combined efforts of the campaign have provided 2,200 relief bags to people in need.
“We go out to the extremities of Patong, the shanty town workers camps where the people who fall through the Thai government security net are,” Dave explains.
“We are raising money to buy basic staple foods to distribute to people not protected by the Thai social security system, mainly very poor Thai and Burmese migrant workers.
“The campaign started April 14 and two days later we started handing out the relief bags. On Day 1 we handed out 350 bags, but we scaled that down to a steady 200 bags a day,” he adds.
The relief bags cost about B100 a bag,
“The bags contains staple foods – rice, noodles, canned mackerel, water, fish sauce, cooking oil and even pak boong “morning glory” vegetable to make sure there are at least some greens in there,” Dave says.
To make that possible is a team of about 10 volunteers, including staffers from the Halfway Inn, which is currently closed by choice (restaurants can still serve takeaway under the current lockdown restrictions), and volunteers from neighbouring bars and restaurants, all working together alongside Dave’s wife Nan packing bags every day.
Dave explained that the key suppliers in the campaign included Makro and Big C, where most of the goods are bought.
Helping driving the fundraising – and paying for food items out of their own money, and helping to deliver the food every day – has been retired commercial pilot John Reddick by contacting friends back home and Guy Arthur Jung, General Manager of Ocean Rock Kalim, who also helps by organising fundraising.
Direct fundraising efforts including donations pledged and pending so far total over B383,000, which has allowed the team to provide relief bags that in total have seen 3,640kg of rice, 11,010 eggs, 3,732 bottles of drinking water and 740 cans of mackerel provided to people in need.
Joining the campaign is renowned tattoo franchise Celebrity Ink, which has launched a GoFundMe campaign, “Feeding families in their time of need”, which has so far raised just under AUS$3,000.
Tikky Aunmaung, who launched the Go Fund Me campaign, explained, “Celebrity Ink’s heart and soul originated in the beautiful country of Thailand seven years ago surrounded and supported by the Thai community. Over the past few years, as our brand has grown, the encouragement and positivity of the Thai, Myanmar, Indonesian, Vietnam and Pilipino people has never wavered, and in the face of this current global COVID-19 crisis, we recognise we could not just stand by and do nothing.
“As a worldwide brand with not a single studio door open, the Celebrity Ink team are making it our mission to use this time to improve the circumstances of those less fortunate as ourselves. We may not have jobs, but we have food in our bellies and a roof over our head. The Thailand and Philippine communities aren’t so lucky. Within the boundaries of Patong, Kuta, Siargao and Ho Chi Minh are some of the country’s poorest communities residing in shantytowns with little to eat,” Tikky adds.
To make a donation through the GoFundMe page, click here.
“Send me a message and I will send bank details. I recommend you use Transferwise (only 3% charges), which gets funds where needed in less than four hours OR GoFundMe (around 1% charges),” says Dave.
“Transfer money in dollars, pounds, euros, rubles, rand, kroner NOT Thai baht. The reason for this is so that it makes it easy for me to identify WHO made the donation,” he advises.
“Send a jpeg, png, screenshot as soon as you make your payment,” to confirm that a donation has been made.
Dave further advised:
Cheapest way to send money, avoiding HUGE bank commission (someone donated GBP 50 and paid GBP 32.50 in charges) is to click on one of the following links:
(There is a fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 fee per donation on GoFundMe)
Fees: GBP 0.7%, AUD 0.95%, USD 1.22%, NZD 1.076%, CAD 1.434%, EUR 1.174%
A full breakdown of all donations received and how the money is spent is posted publicly on the “COVID 19 Appeal 14th April 2020” Facebook page.