Thai monks bring grocery store to the poor as pandemic hits incomes


Buddhist monks from Wat Siriphong Thamma Nimit temple donate food and other necessities on the outskirts of Bangkok, on Sept 18, 2021.- Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters): A group of Thai monks and volunteers wearing protective clothing carefully navigate the bumpy roads of a Bangkok suburb in a golf cart, towing a trailer loaded with fresh vegetables.

"Groceries are here! Groceries are here!" a monk announces through a loudspeaker.

Their mission is to donate food and necessities to vulnerable people hard hit by the pandemic.

Monk Pornchai Kabmalee, 28, came up with the idea a few months ago when he saw hardship in a community near his temple, Wat Siriphong Thamma Nimit.

"I can say our truck basically has everything that a supermarket has," he said.

"I feel scared (of the virus) just like other human beings, but to me, I'm more scared of not being able to help others."

The truck goes out on Sundays, making multiple trips and reaching hundreds, potentially thousands of people each month, Pornchai said.

As the truck arrives, residents start to gather, each allowed to pick five sacks of produce, such as tomatoes, pumpkins, garlic and chillies, along with other goods like soap, rice and eggs.

"This food will make me feel less hungry for a couple of days," said Montri Boontheab, who drove a bus for Chinese visitors before the coronavirus put the brakes on tourism.

"I have been unemployed for a year and I don't see my future yet."

Thailand has recorded more than 1.5 million Covid-19 infections and 15,600 deaths, 99% of those since April, putting a big strain on its economy.

The produce costs at least 50,000 baht (US$1,498) per week, which the monks' say initially came from their own pockets. But as word of mouth spreads, more donations are coming.

Pornchai is not sure how much longer the temple will provide the service, but is looking forward to the day when it will no longer be necessary.

"When people are able to smile again, that's when I'll know that the mission has been accomplished," he said.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Thailand , covid-19 , monks , grocery

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Thailand Pass will be a boon to tourism industry, promises minister
Cambodia to waive hotel quarantine for certain international tourists
Japan pledges to work with Asean toward free, open, peaceful Indo-Pacific
Philippines Covid patients may get Merck’s anti-viral pill early
Singapore university creates first laser-powered device able to trap and move a single virus
Seven more Covid deaths, 111 infections in Cambodia
Australia promises more aid to Asean, seeks stronger relations
I’m against vote buying,’ clarifies presidential candidate Robredo
Water tycoon is China's richest as wealth crackdown batters Jack Ma
China's industrial profits sustain sound growth in first three quarters

Others Also Read


Vouchers