Dozens of local food banks appear in Thailand as virus hits livelihoods

Locals affected by the anti-coronavirus measures receive free meals in a park in central Bangkok. (AP pic)

BANGKOK: Villages and urban communities in Thailand have turned to helping neighbours left jobless due to the coronavirus lockdown by creating dozens of local food banks comprising instant noodles, canned food, rice grains and soap bars.

Within days, “Pantry of Sharing” locations have sprung up in 44 provinces across Thailand and number more than 150 cabinets.

“We realised that many Thais are facing a crisis of no income and no money to buy food due to Covid-19,” said Supakit Kulchartvijit.

Supakit initiated the project in Thailand starting with five pantries – four in Bangkok and one in the western province of Rayong – inspired by the Little Free Pantry in the United States.

“We don’t want to take a lot because we should also share with others … I only take what I need,” said 62-year-old grandmother Gingpetch Lorthong, whose husband is without a job and has to feed five other members in her family.

Although Thailand has eased some restrictions, allowing some businesses to resume, much of the Thai workforce remains out of work and short of cash.

Thailand reported six new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing its total to 3,015 cases since the outbreak began in January.