A small team with a big heart: Scholars of Sustenance Foundation feeding the needy in Hua Hin

Mr Kittisak Azawapokhawat (left), Ms Ratima Kulnapan (centre) Jonathan Fairfield (right)

There is a small team of people who are doing absolutely amazing work helping to feed people living in some of Hua Hin’s most disadvantaged communities.

For the past two years, the Scholars of Sustenance Foundation (SOS) has operated a food charity program which collects surplus food from hotels and other businesses in Hua Hin.

The food, which would otherwise be discarded, is first inspected for quality before being redistributed to people in need living in Hua Hin and the surrounding area.

From their HQ in Smorprong, the team at SOS Hua Hin, which consists of just three people, have provided food to a staggering 132 communities across the region.

They collect food daily from a total of 12 donors from more than 50 locations in Hua Hin, seven days a week.

Food is collected from hotels such as the Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, as well as from convenience stores and malls every morning before it is quickly redistributed to those people who really need it at the end of each day.

“Our mission is to eliminate food waste and improve food equity”, said Kittisak Azawapokhawat (Love) who in his role as Food Rescue Supervisor, heads up the SOS operation in Hua Hin.

Khun Love is assisted by Ratima Kulnapan (Mimi), the SOS Community Coordinator in Hua Hin and Chatchawan Tespoom (Tong), the Food Rescue Ambassador. Together they oversee the collection of food from 57 different locations in the town before they distribute it to low income communities.

Hua Hin Today recently accompanied Khun Love and Khun Mimi as they distributed food to a community in Nong Hiang.

Khun Love, whose background is working in the hospitality industry, said he is passionate about helping people, which is what led him to his role at SOS.

“I just want to help as many people as I possibly can,” Khun Love said.

“Eventually, I would like SOS to be able to help all communities in need in Hua Hin and if there is anything I can do to help, I will do it.”

As well as overseeing the distribution of the surplus food, Khun Love’s time is also taken up with surveying communities to try and understand who needs what and where the support from SOS is needed the most.

He then liaises with the leaders of the different communities in order to organise food deliveries and create a schedule so food can be distributed effectively and efficiently.

The community leader will then tell the members of the community when SOS will be distributing food.

Food is distributed at prearranged times and at specific locations, such as at local community centres, so that as many people can receive food as possible.

In addition to daily food distribution, SOS also organises rescue kitchens, where fresh food is made from surplus ingredients by community volunteers.

The rescue kitchens enable people to receive good quality, nutritious and freshly made food, which otherwise may not be available to them.

A rescue kitchen recently held in Bo Fai resulted in 200 people receiving freshly cooked food over a period of four hours.

“The main issue we have is that there is just never enough food”, Khun Love said.

“So for this reason we have to focus on those who need it the most, such as children, the elderly and the disabled”.

In addition to food donations, which are always needed, SOS welcomes volunteers to help with their efforts both in distributing food and in particular with helping at a rescue kitchen.

As well as operating in Hua Hin, SOS, which originated in North Carolina, also helps people in other locations in Thailand, including Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Elsewhere in the region, SOS operates a branch in Bali, Indonesia, while a branch in Manila in the Philippines will open soon.

Since its founding in Thailand in 2016 with the launch of SOS Bangkok, SOS has provided over 18.5 million meals for over 1,000 communities.

It recently announced a partnership with Starbucks Thailand through the new Starbucks FoodShare program.

The partnership will see participating stores donate surplus food directly to SOS.

If you are a food producer or restauranter in Hua Hin and are interested in donating surplus food or would like to volunteer with SOS Hua Hin, you can contact them below:

SOS Hua Hin Tel: +(66)95-902-2189, +(66)94-8625654
Email: soshhq@scholarsofsustenance.org, ratima.k@scholarsofsustenance.org
Make a donation to SOS Hua Hin
Bank: Kasikorn Bank
Account Number: 075-8-51005-0
Account Name: Scholars of Sustenance

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/sosfoundationthai/ to learn about their rescue missions.