In addition to Thai local government and commercial input, foreign sponsored or backed organizations have been significantly addressing the food needs of perhaps 50,000 Thais who have been left jobless by the Covid-19 pandemic which has virtually closed down the Pattaya tourist industry.
The plight of Thais working in bars and the night-time entertainment industry has been well publicized, but the unemployment problem has also affected those employed in hotels, which were closed in April and are even now mostly under lock and key, restaurants, markets and tourist attractions.
Many charitable organizations have donated cash to pay for thousands of meals of rice or noodles, chicken or tinned fish and fruit or biscuits plus, of course, bottled water. Those previously mentioned by Pattaya Mail are Pattaya Hand to Hand and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church Abroad. Private individuals include Swiss national Olivier Gachoud who is co-sponsoring 300 free meals a day until mid-June. But there are many others.
Special tribute should be paid to the Fab 103fm Team which has already raised over one million baht in donations and looks to be heading towards one and a half million in the not too distant future. Fabulous 103, a BBC world service partner, has been broadcasting by radio in English since 2012 and has in the past raised hundreds of thousands of baht for children’s charities.
The Fab team has distributed food directly to the needy, but its main contribution has been to give supplies of rice, water and other staples to others who are cooking and supplying groceries to those urgently needing them. Organizer Thomas Robson said, “All we need is a photo and a copy of the certificate issued by City Hall which allows the authorities to monitor health and safety issues, especially social distancing.”
The campaign, which has hundreds of official backers in the city and beyond, receives donations principally through https://gogetfunding.com. Feeding the hungry through donations is likely to be required for some months ahead as foreign tourists are banned from entering Thailand for the foreseeable future. Although hotels and some tourist attractions can now open again, most remain closed because of high startup costs and the lack of customers.