Pattaya Norwegians rally around their Church and community to give food to the poor

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Arunee and Bjørn Nordbakk with hundreds of food packages waiting to be distributed.
Arunee and Bjørn Nordbakk with hundreds of food packages waiting to be distributed.

On Sunday, June 14, Jomtien Beach Pool House held their 11th food hand out to the needy. The Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Pattaya sponsored 375 bags of food and the radio station Fabulous 103 FM sponsored 125. Four meals can be made from each of the bags handed out. In addition, special children’s bags were also handed out.



Arunee and Bjørn Nordbakk, the owners of JB Pool House, said that more than 20,000 meals have been given out at the 11 donations they’ve organised. Initially, Arunee and Bjørn paid for all the food out of their own pockets, but later sponsors from both Thailand and Norway chipped in.

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Bjørn has been a renowned numismatist and dealer for more than 35 years. Another coin collector in Norway took the initiative to conduct a raffle on Facebook to raise funds amongst other coin collectors. The net amount made from the 83 people who bought tickets was spent on food that was handed out at JB Pool House.

This will probably be JB Pool House’s last food hand-out as they are preparing to open their doors for their patrons to come and play pool again at their pool parlour.

Pastor Annfinn Lothe and Kristianne Stendal Lothe conduct religious services at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Pattaya.
Pastor Annfinn Lothe and Kristianne Stendal Lothe conduct religious services at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Pattaya.

The Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Pattaya organised their last handout of food to the needy on Thursday, May 28, as the Church has also received permission to open their doors for the parish to come in to pray on Friday, June 12. During the three months that the Church was closed, the congregation continued to do charity work and give out more than 188,000 meals to the needy.

Whilst the food handouts will not be conducted at the Church, the remaining funds will go towards unified charity food handouts in cooperation with four well known Norwegian-owned restaurants and bars to distribute food outside their premises.

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These locations are A Taste of Norway, owned by Hans Johan Grumheten, JB Pool House, owned by Arunee and Bjørn Nordbakk, Kaares Party Bar, owned by Terje Salvesen, and Scandinavia Bar, owned by Erik Sørensen.

Hundreds of people line the soi waiting for the distribution to begin.
Hundreds of people line the soi waiting for the distribution to begin.

Staff and volunteers packed 1500 bags containing 6000 meals at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church and equally divided them to give 375 bags each to the four restaurants to be distributed to the needy.


Staff and representatives of the Church helped to hand out the packages at the different locations. Pastor Annfinn Lothe and his wife Kristianne Stendal Lothe, a diaconal employee at the Church said that they were very happy to be part of the food donations and were overjoyed to meet the benevolent restaurant and bar owners as well as their employees, staff and friends who participated at the preparations and the handouts. The restaurant and bar owners had also participated in the food handouts at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church.

Bjørn Nordbakk expressed happiness that the restaurant and bar owners worked so well together with the Church and was looking forward to further cooperation.

Norwegian and other volunteers prepare for food hand-outs in front of JP Pool House.
Norwegian and other volunteers prepare for food hand-outs in front of JP Pool House.

Pastor Annstein Lothe was very impressed with the organisation at JB Pool House during the handout. At 2 p.m., tickets had been given to the people who had lined up, some as early as 9 a.m. Priority was of course given to the elderly by setting up a special queue for them. At 4 p.m., the food distribution began.

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Earlier that Sunday morning, Pastor Annstein conducted a religious service at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church for the first time in three months. The Church had to close in keeping with the safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristianne Stendal Lothe, Pastor Annfinn Lothe and Jan Olav Aamlid distribute food packages to the people in need.
Kristianne Stendal Lothe, Pastor Annfinn Lothe and Jan Olav Aamlid distribute food packages to the people in need.

This happened to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the opening of the new Church in Thappraya Road Soi 5. Pastor Annstein emphasized in his sermon that it is as important to give as to receive. The Pastor was impressed with the food handouts during the last three months. He was further overwhelmed with the holy participation and cooperation between Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Muslims in the humanitarian work.

Pastor Annstein ended his sermon with Saint Francis’ prayer, “Make me an instrument of Your Peace.”

A handsome little boy is happy with the proceedings.
A handsome little boy is happy with the proceedings.
Pastor Annstein conducted a religious service at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church for the first time in three months.
Pastor Annstein conducted a religious service at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church for the first time in three months.



A very long queue of people on Jomtien Beach Road wait for their turn to get care packages.
A very long queue of people on Jomtien Beach Road wait for their turn to get care packages.
Women wait patiently beside a sign announcing the times of the food handouts and that priority is given to the elderly.
Women wait patiently beside a sign announcing the times of the food handouts and that priority is given to the elderly.

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There are hundreds of thousands of people affected by the economic crash caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are hundreds of thousands of people affected by the economic crash caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.