My Experience Trying To Help Out During Covid-19
During this pandemic, I thought about helping people in need, but had no idea about how to actually do it.
Sitting alone in my apartment for 6 weeks was getting boring and I needed some action, so I tried to make a plan. Cooking food would be difficult in my kitchen and though I do like to cook, Thai food is not my expertise.
My maid came up with the solution, suggesting that we provide bags with rice and canned food instead. That could feed people for more than just 1 meal and supply food for many people, without the need for every member of the family to queue up to get a meal.
The first rough plan was made and she had some friends that would like to help as well. The idea was to get 5 kg of rice, 2 cans of fish, 1 bottle of cooking oil, 1 bottle of fish sauce and some instant noodles. She even researched some prices and we set off shopping.
At wholesaler Makro, prices were lower than expected, so me managed to get 4 cans of different fish, but had to cut down on instant noodles. Makro had a limit of how many we could buy, luckily we were 5 people shopping, so we still got 450 bags of noodles.
Everything was planned much better than I could have hoped for. Very close to Makro, they had found an area we could use outside. The office had room for us to store some of the bags until the next day, so we started packing. My biggest concern would be that someone got sick. I could imagine who would be blamed right away, so I had supplied plenty of hand disinfectant, antibacterial wipes, masks and even latex gloves. Most of them did not take it too seriously, but did disinfect their hands and wore a mask most of the time. I started out with latex gloves, but at 38 degrees and lifting all the bags of rice of a truck and carrying them as well, made my hands dripping wet.
I was so happy about all the people who showed up to help with packing the bags. They were so generous and happily gave away bags to some Cambodian and Laos migrant workers that got stuck here without a job. Not only for Thais, but for the people who needed it.
It took about 2½ hours to pack all the bags. Some were given away in the area where we did the packing. One of the girls jumped up and offered a bag to an old lady, that was watching us and looked hungry. Other bags were distributed to different areas. It was such a nice break from the self-quarantine in my apartment and talking to other people was really nice. Passing people in the isle at the supermarket, is also not possible at 2 meters distance. We did the best we could, but still have to live.
So would I do it again? I hope I can, but I would think it over. During the last week, I have seen people distributing food being shut down. The people queuing up for a free meal did not keep social distancing so the police stopped it. They could have helped the people to keep their distance, but instead they fined the organizers. I’m guessing that the people who gave away free food and got a fine for doing so won’t be doing it again anytime soon.
We gave away the bags 1 at a time, so we did not have a huge line of people waiting. If we had to register at the police and go through a lot of bureaucracy I would not do it. My biggest worry right now with extension of the emergency decree is actually that the amount of people we save from coronavirus is being surpassed by those dying from starvation.
I read comments about how some restaurants are milking the situation and advertising the giveaway. I say, let them do it. I’m positively sure that the people getting free food really don’t care. It might be an advertising move for the restaurant owner, but right now no one is making money from restaurants, so giving food away for free is not easy. I’m a part of Thailand as I live here, hopefully I can stay in the future as well. In a country that is not destroyed by poverty.