Ford Fund’s Bangkok Community Center Redirects Resources to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Ford Fund Coordinates  Complex Array of NGO Efforts to Help Most Vulnerable Residents

Bangkok, Thailand – Within just months of opening its new community center in Bangkok, Ford Fund and its nonprofit partners quickly changed course and redirected resources to address immediate coronavirus-related needs.

When the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) opened in October 2019, it did so with eight of the most creative and progressive nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangkok. Each had its own mission and sought to serve the community in its own way.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, FREC and the NGOs pooled their resources and talent to develop a coordinated approach to serve the larger community.

Scott Chang, director of FREC Bangkok, explains it this way: “We got together and asked these questions: ‘Who can we help? Where are they? How do we reach them? What do we give them? How do we collect it?’”

Working together over the last several weeks, the NGOs set up a system through which 1,000 care packages were distributed each week. The care packages include enough rice, canned fish, soy milk and fruit for 30 meals – as well as soap, hand sanitizer and masks. By the end of June, the group plans to distribute more than 13,000 care packages, enough to serve 400,000 meals to the city’s most vulnerable – the recently unemployed, elderly and families ordered to stay home due to virus exposure.

Na Café, which employs disadvantaged youth and is located at FREC’s next-door neighbor and partner project Bangkok 1899, helped kickstart the COVID relief effort. Two other FREC partners, Scholars of Sustenance and Urban Studies Lab, joined in and the three NGOs together determined the contents of a nutritious care package and called on the public to donate the contents.

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