Scholars of Sustenance (SOS): Rescuing food and nourishing communities in Hua Hin

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Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) is leading the charge against food waste and hunger, while raising awareness about the importance of sustainability and community engagement.

SOS, a non-partisan and integrity-driven environmental organization, has been diligently working to prevent food going to waste and reducing the number of people going hungry in the area.

Under the leadership of James Leyson, Managing Director for SOS in Thailand, and the dedicated efforts of Chawapon Chuengsaman (affectionately known as Boom), the Food Rescue Supervisor in Hua Hin, the organization has made remarkable strides in reducing food waste and addressing food insecurity.

SOS’s mission is clear: to rescue surplus food that would otherwise end up in landfills and redistribute it to those in need.

In Hua Hin, this operation involves collecting excess food from hotels, convenience stores, and malls. The collected food is meticulously inspected for quality before being distributed to vulnerable individuals and communities in Hua Hin and its surrounding areas.

“We don’t want food to end up in the landfill,” stated James Leyson, emphasizing SOS’s commitment to fighting food waste.

SOS’s dedication to this cause is also reflected in its recently launched ‘Farm Rescue program.’

This initiative focuses on rescuing surplus produce from local farms, including coconuts, mangoes, and bananas, which are then redirected to those who need it most.

With a team of just three individuals working tirelessly seven days a week, including holidays, SOS supports an impressive 40 communities in Hua Hin.

Since its inception in December 2020, SOS has provided a staggering number of meals to those in need, with 110,000 meals in 2021, 230,000 meals in 2022, and 140,000 meals as of April 2023.

The organization aims to provide 300,000 meals in Hua Hin by the end of this year, focusing on some of the most vulnerable communities throughout the district.

By ensuring a steady supply of fresh and nutritious food, this initiative has significantly improved the quality of meals received by those in need, leading to positive health outcomes and increased well-being in the community.

James also emphasized that collaboration lies at the heart of SOS’s success and gave some insight into how the organization connects with the communities in and around Hua Hin.

Through word of mouth and referrals, the organization identifies communities that require assistance.

A thorough assessment is conducted in each community, fostering connections with community leaders and training community members in proper food handling and distribution.

SOS has also established valuable partnerships and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with local businesses in Hua Hin, such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and convenience stores.

Furthermore, by engaging with hotel chefs, SOS provides them with training on the types of food suitable for distribution, fostering a sense of accountability and encouraging the reduction of food waste.

While SOS’s impact is already considerable, the organization remains dedicated to reaching even more communities in Hua Hin and its surrounding areas.

However, the scale of their operations depends on the amount of food collected.

SOS hopes to expand its reach through the continued success of the Farm Rescue program, which is vital in securing a steady supply of surplus food for redistribution.

Among the noteworthy partnerships that SOS is particularly proud of in Hua Hin, IVL, based in Bangkok, stands out. IVL has been actively involved in SOS’s operations in Hua Hin for the past two years, demonstrating a strong commitment to the organization’s feeding program and its mission to combat food waste and hunger.

Readers who wish to support Scholars of Sustenance and contribute to its noble mission have various avenues to get involved.

They can participate in the Rescue Kitchen program or support the organization’s food rescue efforts.

These kitchens serve as vital hubs where surplus ingredients are transformed into delicious, fresh meals by dedicated community volunteers.

The rescue kitchens not only rescue excess food from going to waste but also ensure that individuals in need receive high-quality, nutritious, and freshly prepared meals that may otherwise be out of reach.

As well as addressing food waste, the initiative also fosters a sense of community engagement, as local volunteers can come together to make a tangible difference in the lives of their neighbors.

For businesses and groups who engage in cooking activities with the rescue kitchens, it offers a worthwhile opportunity for corporate social responsibility projects.

These activities create meaningful impact and unforgettable experiences for those taking part.

To donate and make a difference in the fight against food waste and hunger, visit the Scholars of Sustenance website at scholarsofsustenance.org.

With an unwavering focus on reaching vulnerable communities and collaborating with local businesses and organizations, SOS continues to make significant strides in rescuing surplus food and providing nourishment to those who need it most.

 

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