Help for the Needy During Covid-19 in Chiang Mai

May 2020

A couple of people have asked questions re packaging and delivery issues (delivery being a protected occupation) on the food for the homeless and needy program.

The program is run by volunteers and paid Thai staff (for whom I pay all costs – donation funds are not used for this) and has been running every day since April 19th.

Raw materials (food, packaging and water) are paid for by donations from Ulysses Club members, friends and family.  There are no deductions for any purpose whatsoever – all donated funds purchase the raw materials for the program.

We made a conscious decision to have Thai people do the handing out of the food.  They are best able to judge the situation and on some, fortunately rare, occasions have found less than needy people and they were able to explain the intended recipients.  It works well.  Our presence reinforces that this is a donation program and the recipients are incredibly thankful for it.

I trust this clears up those issues.  The linked video was shot yesterday by Deere and shows the distribution by Thai people.

June 2020

A huge shout out to our many Thai volunteers on the food for the homeless and needy program. We really couldn’t do this without you. Tum, Aoy, Ow, Or, Pim, Nitt, Joy, Bang, Sekorn, Nam, Nom, Ginger, and Deere.

I snapped a pic of Tum coming back from the markets yesterday. As usual, she can’t get off the bike until we unload it, or it will topple over. Yesterday, she was carrying more than most farangs would bring home in their car. 20kg cabbages, 10kg beans, 10kg chicken, sundry other foodstuffs and a load of packaging. As much as we’d rather not use the packaging, we’re required to and it’s the cost issue rearing its ugly head.

Well done to our volunteers Farang and Thai alike. 219 meals distributed yesterday, 200 the day before, 213 the day before that, 202…. etc. Highly appreciated by the humble and thankful recipients. We also handed out the four large bags of clothing and shoes that had been donated. Thanks also to all our supporting donors.

July 5th, 2020

We are going to start winding down the food for the needy program. We have enough funding for the next couple of weeks and we aren’t seeking additional funds.

We’ve been running solid at 200 – 220 meals a day for a long time now – all free to the needy – and last night we completed 11 weeks without a day off. We provided 1,419 meals last week alone.

Our plan is to taper off – tonight I’ve asked Tum to cap it at 150 meals. We want to try and get a handle on who is in most need. We know in one location there are 60 people living in a tin shed warehouse…. but it’s about finding out how to manage the wind-down.

By the time this program ends, we’ll have provided well over 15,000 meals (and clothing, shoes, etc) to the neediest of the needy that we could find in these tough times.

Many thanks to the members, friends and family who have supported the program. A huge thank you to our staff here too, who have handled a massive task. The cooks here have only had 3 days off in the last 78 (and still counting). Program costs doubled when they had a day off, as meals were contracted out to commercial kitchens, so they have worked tirelessly to do it as cheaply and efficiently as possibly.

Thanks Tum, Oi, Pim, Deere, and thanks to our many Thai volunteers, who helped in the kitchen and with deliveries: Nom, Nam, Or, Bang, Ow, Joy, Nitt, Sekorn, Ginger, Eh, and others.