Food for Fighters: A Project from Ordinary People with Great Inspiration

Panchana

The COVID-19 crisis has affected people around the world. Many are stressed out trying to deal with the situation, many are suffering from economic hardship and many are experiencing problems they have never had to face before. Yet out of this calamity a group of people have emerged who are working hard to help the world get through this crisis. To salute the human spirit in the current pandemic and offer a sincere tribute to universal hope, positivity and togetherness, Coca-Cola is shining a spotlight on Ms. Panchana Vatanasathien, a Thai hero from the ‘Food for Fighters’ project, one of the everyday heroes from around the world selected to feature in the company’s online film ‘For the Human Race’.

“The number of customers visiting the restaurant dropped dramatically after the lockdown measures and I became very worried that I wouldn’t be able to look after my employees – who are longtime friends. I decided to take hold of my fear and look for opportunity,” said Ms. Panchana Vatanasathien or Tete, owner of the PenLaos restaurant, a community restaurant in Nakhon Ratchasima. “Since frontline healthcare workers are working hard to help all of us get through this situation, I wanted to help provide them with food and, at the same time, help the restaurant business move forward in this difficult period. That’s why I came up with the idea of raising money to order lunchboxes from restaurants and distributing them to healthcare workers. At first, I honestly wondered if anybody at all would join me”.

COVID-19

After posting her proposal on her Facebook account, Panchana was contacted by various partners and, after some work, the project finally took shape. From the initial idea to help three hospitals in Bangkok and the surrounding vicinity, the project grew and is now able to help more than 20 hospitals nationwide. From the early goal of delivering 1,000-3,000 boxes of food per day to hospitals, the project has expanded significantly and reached a total of 30,000 boxes within a month.

“Sometimes, I was feeling very depressed at the situation, but I realized I needed to quickly steel myself for the task; I knew it was ‘now or never’,” added Panchana. “The difficulty gave me a chance to see that I needed to remain calm and deal with my emotions. It also helped me to see how the kindness and unity of ordinary people is linked together, it can become a great force and bring inspiration and relief for others. Seeing how useful this project is to the public is truly an amazing experience that drives me forward every day.”

Food for Fighters

One thing that Panchana is proud of is that, throughout the project, she has revived the spirit of everyone involved. She always reminds the team that this moment is here and now for them. Making lunchboxes during this period might not be able to make them rich or make a lot of profit, but it gives them the spirit to live on.

The online global film ‘For the Human Race’ showcases local heroes from around the world including everyday heroes from Italy, the United States and Thailand. ‘Food for Fighters’ is reflective of the work and spirit of many heroes in Thailand, and reflects the beauty of positivity and togetherness. You can watch the micro-story featuring Panchana here. At the same time, Coca-Cola has also joined hands with a partner to salute the human spirit surrounding local heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic through online activities, which will help create togetherness in getting through these challenging times.

“I cried after hearing that ‘Food for Fighters’ was selected as one of the stories to be broadcast throughout the world in the film ‘For the Human Race’. I am glad that this project meets Coca-Cola’s objectives of creating universal hope, positivity and togetherness, and is driving everyone to unite and regain their strength. Being selected by Coca-Cola brings yet more motivation for me and the project to be able to move steadily forward. ‘Food for Fighters’ is nothing compared to the hard work of the frontline healthcare workers. I want this to encourage them to fight. For those who want to do good things for the public, I want to help inspire you to do them now because the results of what you do will be worth far more than you can ever imagine. This crisis is giving me a chance to connect with citizens from all over the world and I want to thank everyone involved in this project. Since I started the project, it has made me realize that this life is truly worthwhile,” Ms. Panchana concluded.

Coca-Cola Thailand
Moving forward, ‘Food for Fighters’ aims to raise two million Thai baht for the provision of lunchboxes for medical staff at various hospitals nationwide, with food carriers to help reduce waste and be environmentally friendly. In the long term, Panchana has the idea to extend assistance to those affected by unemployment in the service and tourism industry. She is now proposing a ‘Food for Fighters Community Kitchen’ project, which will work with partners to open a central kitchen for the community (in pilot provinces) and employ those affected by the crisis, giving them much needed jobs.

To contribute to the crowdfunding project, donations can be made at https://social.sinwattana.com/foodforfighters or by transferring money to Kasikorn Bank, Account name: Panchana Vatanasathien, Account number: 003-2-916724. In addition, the project plans to create a ‘Food for Fighters’ T-shirt to sell to those interested.

For more information, please visit the Facebook Page: FoodForFightersTH  or call  +66 02-016-9910 from 09.00 hrs. – 17.00 hrs. on weekdays.

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