A Filipino organization in Chalong, Phuket installs a community pantry to help Filipinos working in hotels, bars, and restaurants
There’s now a FIlipino community pantry in Chalong, Phuket Thailand established by ACTION-Association of Concerned Filipinos in Thailand, which is a non-government, non-profit, self-reliant, socio-civic, multi-sectoral Filipino organization.
ACTION posted on Facebook that the latest spike in COVID-19 cases in Thailand have affected overseas Filipino workers (OFW), especially those who are in tourism-related sectors like hotel workers and musicians.
As of yesterday, April 30, 2021, Phuket has 17 cases. But according to ACTION’s welfare and rights officer Teresa Sarmiento, even though they have few cases, bars and restaurants, where most Filipinos work, were not allowed to operate since March of this year. And most hotels there were converted into quarantine facilities as well.
Set up in the garage of Teresa’s residence, the pantry only accommodates two to three visitors inside since they have to strictly follow Thailand’s protocol forbidding mass gathering. “Filipinos need to call before they go to the pantry. But we also welcome those who just walk in, Thai people included, as long as they follow the rules,” said Teresa in Filipino.
“Most Filipino entertainers who lost their job here went on to teach online, giving music and voice lessons,” continued Teresa. “Also, some of them do part-time domestic work in foreigners’ houses, some cooked food to sell online. But we still want to help them to survive in these trying times.”
The group called for donations of basic food like rice, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and the likes on its page last April 27, 2021. A day after, donations in kind poured in. And yesterday, they announced that the ACTION Community Pantry Phuket has officially opened.
The pantry is also inspired by Maginhawa Community Pantry. However, community pantry, which Thais’ call “pantry of sharing,” is not a new concept. It also created a phenomenon same time last year, which according to Bangkok Post also grew in scale in just a few days.