Thailand sees proliferation of food banks during COVID-19 pandemic

People eat lunch at a street food restaurant implementing social distancing measures with plastic dividers on the tables after the Thai government relaxed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Bangkok on May 7, 2020. – Thailand began easing restrictions related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus on May 3 by allowing various businesses to reopen, but warned that the stricter measures would be re-imposed should cases increase again. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

Food banks have become a new fad, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where anonymous philanthropic people, who want to help their fellow countrymen affected by business closures, can donate food.

In many, signs are displayed advising people to pick up just enough food for a day’s consumption, so that others can share in the donations.  Sadly though, incidents have been reported of people scrambling to grab the donated food, emptying the food bank just minutes after it was stocked.

For instance, in the municipal area of Muang district in Nakhon Sawan province, the mayor, Mr. Chittakasem Nirotthanarat has ordered the food bank, originally in front of the Freeland department store, to be moved to the police fire station instead.

The move is a result of an incident, captured by CCTV and posted on social media, showing a group of people hanging around after having grabbed the food, apparently waiting for the food bank to be replenished, instead of dispersing.

Mr. Chittakasem said that a new rule has been imposed for those who want to receive the donations, which includes social distancing, no pushing and shoving and each person can take only four items.  All who receive the donations must immediately go home, he added.

Mr. Akkarapong Wangpaisarn, a resident of Pak Nam Po district, who installed the food bank, said that he wants donors to fill it with food and other necessities, so needy people can take just enough for their own consumption, adding that he feels sorry that there are some unscrupulous people who want to take all the donations without sharing with other people.


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