Local Businesses Launch Eat2Donate Campaign to Feed Those Affected by COVID-19

  • Gerald Flynn and Jazmyn Himel
  • April 7, 2020 4:21 AM

The campaign will aim to provide 100 meals a day to staff at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and local families who’ve lost jobs or income as a result of the pandemic.

PHNOM PENH--Fostering a sense of community and promoting local businesses is the aim of a new campaign launched officially on April 3 by a collective of entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh. The Eat2Donate program allows people ordering food from local restaurants to donate a meal which is then distributed to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital staff and local families.

Sandy Kotan, owner of Only One Planet – an organization selling biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastics – explained that she was putting her newfound free time to good use.

“It came about because I was bored – no business – and was looking for ways to support my customers that were struggling and do something good for Cambodians at the same time,” she said, adding that Galeno Chua of The Idea and Slaprea responded to her post and agreed to join forces.

“It’s a wonderful, mutually supportive partnership,” she added.

She explained that as of April 6, Eat2Donate had 67 meals ready and would be set to make their first donation later this week.

“To start we will do deliveries a couple times a week, but once the word gets out and volume increases we hope to make daily deliveries to the hospital,” she said, noting that The Rotary Club of Phnom Penh, which Kotan is president of, is also donating hand sanitizer made by Coco Khmer, another local company.

This comes amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has ravaged the world. The human cost of the virus is rising daily and the economic impact is being felt keenly across the globe, but local efforts such as Eat2Donate are not only trying to turn the tide, they’re fostering a community.

“Each restaurant commits to providing a minimum of five meals per week, then they create a ‘special’ menu item, geared to Khmer tastes at a cost of about $2-3 each,” Kotan explained. “They then offer to sell this meal to their customers, the customers then pay for the meal, but it is delivered to our beneficiaries,” she said, adding that initially it is just staff at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, but that this could expand.

Kotan went on to note that frontline workers in Cambodia have recently signed an agreement to work 15 days and take 15 days off, but said that during the 15 days of work, they cannot leave the hospital and visitors are prohibited. 

During this time the hospitals are required to provide their staff with food on limited budgets. Likewise, staff are required to self-isolate during the 15 days they spend outside of the hospital, so Kotan hopes that her initiative will offer some respite to those on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

Similarly, Mith Samlanh, an organization working with Cambodian street kids, will be distributing to families in need based on their ability to identify the most at-risk families and ensure they are fed.

“We promote the restaurants and try to drive business to them so people can donate as well as support a food program, but the idea is to give everyone the opportunity to ‘give back’ to this gorgeous country that we call home, and spread costs across a wide base of people,” Kotan said.

To donate a meal, customers simply order directly from participating restaurants, which at press time includes Java Creative Café, Lot 369, Brooklyn Pizza Delivery and MiaM Box.


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