Generosity in the face of adversity? Community v COVID-19

This piece isn’t about race, colour or politics. It’s about a small community in Soi 101/1 that started with a small group of westerners who would meet and eat and drink together at La Tasca Tapas Restaurant. It’s a friendly place to pop in and have a bite to eat or a drink with the local community. A place where ex-pats and Thais mix with people from all over the world.

I had seen a tweet that the owner Dani Betancor and the guys from the La Tasca community were giving out free food to help the local community, every night between 5 PM and 6 PM. I decided to go along and see for myself how this generous act of kindness was being received by the locals from the area.

What made you guys decide to give out free food? After all, you are a business?

We want to give something (back) to our community during this time of difficulty. We can also connect with people who might otherwise feel isolated and vulnerable. In these times of social disconnection, every little bit we can do will help them.

Who’s involved in the free meals?

The La Tasca community as a whole. These like-minded people want to contribute in any way they can. It started locally with our regulars, but it has expanded across Thailand, and into Malaysia and even our UK friends are donating to our cause. 

How many meals are you giving out per day, yesterday there were around 100. If I could ask, what sort of costs are involved in the making that many meals per day?

We make 100 meals a day. Our unit cost is approximately 18 baht per meal. However, that can vary depending on ingredients and essentials, If we need to buy more food trays and stock etc. then our unit price increases. We have so far managed to feed 422 people. 

How would long would you like to keep this going?

As long as there is a need and we have the resources, we will continue to help.  

Is the community in Soi 101/1 like a family? What does it mean to you guys to help?

In typical Thai fashion, it comes naturally that our community helps each other. We are like a family. At a time when we can rarely be in the same place, we need to remember we are in the same space. The sense of purpose from the neighbours with their kind and generous offerings has been of particular note. We have received donations and water towards our cause. Our gratitude is immeasurable, and the satisfaction in helping the community makes it so much more satisfying.

After speaking to Dani, Nok, and the La Tasca community and spending time taking photos, chatting with the group involved you get a feeling that this ‘family’ is very much part of the local dynamic in Soi 101/1 and everyone has a sense of belonging. It is heart-warming to see a group of people like this act in such an unselfish way, leading by example and giving to the people whose lives have been dramatically affected by the virus.  

If you can support these guys in any way please contact them on the link below.