Panthera Group brings food aid to Bangkok’s struggling nightlife workers

Panthera Group, Thailand’s largest operator of bars, clubs and restaurants, in June continued its drive to feed waitresses, bartenders, cleaners, DJs, dancers and blue-collar workers dependent on the country’s shuttered nightlife industry.

On June 10, Panthera dispensed 6,000 tons of food and necessities from its landmark Nana Plaza entertainment complex on Sukhumvit Soi 4 to 1,058 people.

The survival bags were stuffed with a total of more than 5,000 kilograms of rice, 40,000-plus eggs, 6,000 tins of canned food, 2,000 bottles of cooking oils, 20,000 packs of instant noodles. This month, the third consecutive in which Panthera has mounted a relief effort, the bags also included other vital personal care items such as soap, Tylenol, quality shampoo, toothpaste, baby powder, and sanitary items.

The overwhelming majority of workers at Nana Plaza and on Soi Cowboy are single mothers from Thailand’s impoverished Northeast who support children or entire families. When nightlife venues were ordered to close in April, they lost the ability not only to support their families, but themselves as well.

Since January, Panthera Group has given away more than 25,000 tons of food to more than 4,000 nightlife industry workers at Nana Plaza, on Sukhumvit Soi 11 and Sukhumvit Soi 23, including hundreds of taxi drivers dependent on Bangkok’s vibrant – and now closed – entertainment sector.

Unlike in May, this month’s food handouts were spread across the city instead of staging a large event at Nana Plaza, thereby minimizing the risk of spreading Covid-19. Nana Plaza workers picked up their survival bags on Soi 4, while employees of Panthera’s  restaurants and other venues were given bags at Panthera-owned Craft on Soi 23. Nightclub employees and taxi drivers received their items at Panthera’s Insanity nightclub on Sukhumvit Soi 11.

Panthera Group co-founder Paul Hayward said the company he started with Mickey Doherty nearly two decades ago will also begin weekly food donations to Sukhumvit taxi drivers.

“They are key people in the nightlife industry,” Hayward said. “But taxi drivers are forgotten souls these days.