Community pantries expand to 43 provinces

Community pantries expand to 43 provinces

People place items in a community pantry in Muang district of Phitsanulok. The pantries have been found in 43 provinces as of Monday. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha)
People place items in a community pantry in Muang district of Phitsanulok. The pantries have been found in 43 provinces as of Monday. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha)

The new phenomenon of the "community pantry", also known as "pantry of sharing", is rapidly increasing as Thais continue to donate daily necessities items to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Community pantries were found in 43 provinces on Monday, a surge from 21 on Sunday. The central region, including Bangkok, led the pack with 16 provinces, followed by 16 in the northeastern region, seven each in the North and South, and three in the eastern areas.

The number was compiled by Supakit Kulchartvijit, who has asked people who set up a roadside cupboard or spot one to take a picture and send it to his Facebook page so he can update the figures.

“Does your province have a community pantry?” he asked in a post on his page on Monday.

Mr Supakit, an independent business consultant, has joined a volunteer group called Little Brick to promote community pantries around the country.

He first floated the idea on his Facebook page on Thursday, and his team then set up the first five roadside cupboards -- four in Bangkok and one in Rayong. The sharing campaign has gone viral and inspired copycat cupboards, including the one in Muang district of Khon Kaen.

Typical items inside are rice, fruit juice, milk, eggs, instant noodles and water.

Mr Supakit said there was no need for people to flock to the pantries created by his team. Anyone can set up a pantry in their community, he said, on the principle of collective ownership.  

“The community pantry has no ownership. Once it is set up, it belongs to that community,” he wrote. “None of the items belong to us once we put them in the pantry.”

He suggested fresh food should not be put in a pantry as it quickly spoil.

Monks, police and soldiers have joined ordinary people in setting up pantries in their locations.

Pol Lt Col Nongluck Promrit, a superintendent of Plien police station in Sichon district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, said on Sunday she bought a cupboard for 3,000 baht and spent another 500 baht on items to stock the pantry. Other people who saw it outside her house had kept it filled since then, she added.

Wat Pho Nimit in Thon Buri district of Bangkok is one of the many temples offering help to people left in need by the coronavirus pandemic. (Video by Jetjaras Na Ranong)

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