Life Bag Project Summary
As 2022 starts off with a few shaky steps we look back over 2021 with satisfaction knowing that the Food Relief project that we started back in 2020 had a dramatic impact on our local community as well as our staff, team and volunteers involved in the project.
Across 2021 we delivered in excess of 410,000 life bags, this is a staggering number of life bags when you consider that this project started off in a spare room, at a house, with a team of 3-5 packing 300 – 500 bags a time.
Here’s a look back at some of the key milestones of 2021 in our Life Bag Project:
January 30th 2021 – This was our first large group pack held at the Sutai Muay Thai Gym where we packed over 1000 life bags in a 2–3-hour period with the help of over 80 Volunteers. This was the start of weekly large group packing sessions that we conducted during the times where Covid was under control and the rules allowed us to. These large group packing sessions led to relationships with the International Schools, Hotels, and alike who proved to be valuable partners in packing life bags across the year.
February 10th 2021 – We had the Bangkok Mission President visit with his family to help pack and distribute life bags using the Church Members. This was the start of our project to invite members of the church to be involved in packing life bags and delivering them to their friends and family who are not Church members.
March 1st 2021 – This was our first official “Packing Pod” where we delivered life bag supplies to the UWCT school who then packed the life bags for us, we then picked them up and delivered them. This turned out to be invaluable throughout the year with Packing Pods across all of Phuket picking up packing when normal packing operations could not be conducted.
March 8th 2021 – Throughout the network of village chiefs we discovered a large number of immigrant workers that were in need and we delivered life bags to the immigrant workers. We also worked on a media campaign to bring awareness to the issues in immigrant worker camps.
March 10th 2021 – A large pack occurred at Blue Tree Water Park as part of a combined effort between local businesses to work together to provide relief to the villages that their employees came from. This was further growth on the community packs we started in January.
April 2nd 2021 – Fulltime Volunteer Coordinators Pete and Nina took over the logistics of all packing, delivery, and supply auditing. They had previously been providing support from 2020 and this was their move into the role as full-time volunteers on this project and others in the future.
April 8th 2021 – On a personal note Lucus packed 1000+ life bags and delivered them personally after noticing a community on his own that needed help.
May 1st 2021 – Packing pods continued with UWCT students and teachers packing over 2000 life bags in a day.
May 3rd 2021 – The largest ever boat-based island delivery took place with 5 Star Marine providing 5 boats to transfer Life Bags from Phuket to Koh Yao Yai where we were joined with Village Chiefs from across the entire islands. One of the largest coordination projects ever undertaken in this Project.
May 5th 2021 – Our Community Isolation program for delivering life bags to community members ordered into quarantine continues with a spike in cases causing greater need in these programs.
May 20th 2021 – BISP starts their community service project with us, packing life bags with the students as another signed on packing Pod.
May 24th 2021 – The Governor and the President of the Phuket Red Cross make contact requesting help in the form of Life Bags for residents across Phuket that are registered with the Provincial Government and the Red Cross.
May 29th 2021 – Hot meals are once again cooked and prepared by the Volunteer team for local communities using left over food supplies from previous packing sessions.
June 7th 2021 – Covid case numbers are forcing creative ways to pack and prepare life bags with our family home turning into a make-shift packing center and all family members getting involved.
June 8th 2021 – The President of the Phuket Red Cross contacts us again seeking assistance with communities on Phuket who are in need of Emergency Food Relief.
June 10th 2021 – The Telegraph from the UK joins us onboard as we work with the Sheriff of Phang Nga to deliver Emergency Life Bag supplies to communities that are isolated on Islands around Phuket.
June 11th 2021 – The single largest 3-day pack is undertaken by 5 Star Marine and the Volunteer team packing, delivering and preparing 5000+ life bags across 3 bags as a combined project with the Governor and the President of the Phuket Red Cross.
July 10th 2021 – Incremental weather does not stop the Donation Volunteers and Team packing and delivering life bags in all kinds of weather, across all hours of the day and days of the week.
July 17th 2021 – Jim and their Family join the volunteer team to pack and deliver life bags across Phuket and the surrounding Islands.
July 23rd 2021 – Nighttime packing is resumed to keep up with demand for Life Bags across Phuket as the community still struggles despite the opening of the Phuket Sandbox. Economic effects of the Phuket Sandbox are really low.
July 28th 2021 – Our community isolation life bag project continues on with our team providing life bags to those that are isolated in communities.
July 31st 2021 – Some of the most shocking images of our entire Life Bag Project emerge with lines so long we just can’t keep up with demand. Villagers are upset that we are unable to help them and they have nowhere to turn.
August 1st 2021 – With large numbers of villages fully closed we are delivering bulk supplies to the Covid Safe staging centers where we have members of the village that are covid negative coming to pick up supplies and distribute with Government Health workers.
August 2nd 2021 – Lines continue to get longer; need continues to grow and our team are exhausted both physically and emotionally.
August 11th 2021 – K. Zeera and the team receive an emergency call for support at 10pm at night. K. Zeera loads up her motorbike and takes life bags immediately to Phuket Town to help out those in urgent need.
August 14th 2021 – Head Start International school joins our packing pod program and helps to pack life bags onsite at their school.
August 25th 2021 – Koh Lipe, an island 4hr and 30 minutes from Phuket is isolated with no tourism or means to survive so working with partners in the Marine Industry we organize a boat full of supplies to be delivered to Koh Lipe and surrounding islands.
September 2nd 2021 – Working with Dave from the Halfway Inn in Patong food relief is delivered into some of the hard-hit areas around Patong and the nightlife areas of Patong.
September 5th 2021 – The 5 Star Marine boat team undertake an even more significant deliver of Life Bags to the outer islands with over 2500 Life bags on boats and delivered.
September 30th 2021 – Our team return from a delivery day exhausted emotionally and physically, having been going for over 18 months they need a rest and break but they won’t take it.
October 10th 2021 – Shaun’s Birthday delivery of life bags, packing and delivering life bags across his birthday and the day after.
October 13th 2021 – Our team goes into some of the hardest-hit covid areas and help community members who are too sick to leave their rooms, homes, or beds.
October 27th 2021 – Living Waters Phuket with 5 Star Marine The Phuket Red Cross and The Phuket Governor pack and deliver 8000+ life bags across 5 days in the single largest private donation ever given to Phuket communities.
The Ongoing Emergency Food Security Crisis In Phuket
If you are living in Phuket then you would be fully aware of the escalating covid situation here. Cases are going up, workers are being ordered to stay at home, communities are being isolated.
This is not something new, in fact it’s something that countries worldwide have been battling now for almost 3 years. The problem here in Phuket is that we are an island that relies on tourism for most employment and economic opportunities. In fact over 90% of the the islands population are directly employed by tourism or tourism supporting activities.
When cases rise like this tourism confidence is affected, tourism arrivals decrease, tourism employers lay off workers and food security becomes a huge problem. Unfortunately this is also not a new experience here in Phuket. It is something that our team here at 5 Star Marine have been working to support over the last 20+ months.
Over the last few days our phones have not stopped calling with Village Leaders asking for help. As part of our large scale food security operation over the last 20 months we connected with over 130 village leaders and helped them and there community members to fight through and survive with “Life Bags”
We had hoped in 2022 the need for life bags would decline but this is not the case.
5 Star Marine is following its commitment to keeping helping provide Life Bags and is funding 1000’s of life bags a week. This is all being done through the Charitable Foundation that they founded called Living Waters Phuket.
To find out more about Living Waters Phuket and also this latest rise in need for life bags please take a read of this great article by The Thaiger: