'Pantries of sharing' fan out nationwide

'Pantries of sharing' fan out nationwide

43 provinces use tool to provide for needy

A man selects items he needs from a roadside cupboard on Sukhumvit 71.  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
A man selects items he needs from a roadside cupboard on Sukhumvit 71.  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

"Community pantries" or "pantries of sharing" are on the rise as Thais increasingly donate daily necessities to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Community pantries had been set up in at least 51 provinces on Monday, a surge from 21 on Sunday.

That figure was compiled by Supakit Kulchartvijit, who has asked people who set up "roadside cupboards" to take pictures and send them to his Facebook page so he can update the tally.

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

Mr Supakit, an independent business consultant, is part of a volunteer group called Little Brick, which is promoting the idea of community pantries across the country.

He first floated the idea on his Facebook page on Thursday. His team then set up roadside cupboards on Sukhumvit 71, Phetkasem 54, Soi Vibhavadi 60, and at Bang Kholaem Market in Bangkok, as well as in Rayong.

Typical items placed inside the pantries include 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, as anyone can set up their own under the principle of collective ownership.

"A 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 spoils quickly.

Monks, police and soldiers have also joined in to set up pantries.

Pol Lt Col Nongluck Promrit, a superintendent at Plien police station in Sichon district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, said she bought a cupboard for 3,000 baht and spent another 500 baht on items to stock the pantry with.

Other people saw it outside her house and have kept it filled since then, she said.

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