For many thousands of impoverished people, Bangkok Community Help (BCH) has been an absolutely vital lifeline during the past two years of the Covid pandemic.
Set up in April 2020 in response to the obvious and growing need for food and medical supplies in Klong Toey and other low income districts, BCH reaches out to the needy on a daily basis thanks a small army of volunteers and sponsors. Its work has meant the difference between life and death for untold numbers of people in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
Leading the charge is American businessman Greg Lange and Friso Poldervaart from The Netherlands who jointly founded the project, which has morphed from a small group of like-minded individuals into a complex operation involving hundreds of daily tasks. BCH is now registered as a charity with the Thai government.
Despite their daily proximity to hundreds of Covid sufferers, neither Greg nor Friso has proved positive for any virus.
The scope of their work is staggering. The following statistics tell an amazing story.
Bangkok Community Help (BCH)
Operates without a break
Free Covid tests given to over 250 people a day, each receiving a ‘bag of happiness’ filled with groceries toiletries, fruits and other goods
Hands out 3,000 meals a day
Up to December 31, 2021 distributed:
* 1.3 million packets of instant noodles
* 530,000 hot meals
* 840,000 cans of fish
* 210,000 litres of cooking oil
* 630,000 face masks
* 210,000 bars of soap
* 210,000 bottles of shampoo
* 210,000 bottles of alcohol gel
* 5,000 litres of oxygen
* 15,000 ATK tests
* 10,000 strips of paracetamol
• BCH regularly visits 42 low income areas of Bangkok, including compounds housing police
• Attended to over 100,000 people in the Klong Toey/Wattana area
• Number of BCH volunteers has increased from 100 to over 500 in the past year, the youngest being
five and the oldest 75
• Helped out at four fires affecting low income residential areas, including one for 30 blind people in
• Rescued elderly people affected by severe flooding in Ayutthaya.
• Sourcing low-cost Covid hotels
• Advising more than 650 tourists who’ve become stranded here because of Covid with information,
so-called recovery letters and even cheap quarantine accommodation
Modest to massive, from nine baht given by a young child – enough to pay for half a meal - to 200,000 baht given by several major organizations and banks, as well as 900,000 products donated by Unilever and supplies from specialists like Dr Donna Robinson’s MedConsult Clinic. The biggest single sponsor, however, was two million baht donated by an anonymous European.
• Setting up Kids Day, entertaining 500 youngsters with games and food
• Repair and painting playgrounds
• Rebuilding houses occupied by low income families
• When over 700 camps housing construction workers were shut down in May 2021 due to Covid,
BCH supplied water and food to desperate people locked inside for several weeks.
• Saving the life of a pregnant woman whose oxygen levels were dangerously low, thanks to the
last-minute arrival of a workable oxygen tank. Three days later she gave birth.
Witnessing the recovery of a young girl and former medal-winning athlete who had lost the use of the left side of her body after suffering a brain hemorrhage, and was in a severely depressed state.
When a 10-year-old daughter who was unaware her mother had died, asking for a blanket because her “mum’s body is cold.”
One from the Malaysian Embassy. “But our best reward is when people say thank you.”
“Seems we can’t stop” – Greg and Friso.
Greg Lange, 63, is CEO and founder of Sunrise Tacos and majority shareholder in a company that owns 12 Subway outlets. (https://www.thebigchilli.com/feature-stories/profile-greg-lange)
Friso Poldervaart, 29, from The Netherlands arrived in Thailand ten years ago immediately after graduating. Working in the media and video production industry, he caught Bangkok’s attention with his popular pre-Covid project ‘Dinner in the Sky.’ He met Greg after posting a plea for a kitchen to cook for in-need communities.