Posted by Greg Penno on Mar 24, 2023
In early 2020, with the onset of Covid 19, where countries were closing their borders to travellers, I received a request from friends in Cambodia advising that they needed help to support Cambodians who were facing starvation due to lack of income.  Young people who worked in the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap had lost their jobs due to lack of tourism and the closure of businesses involved in the garment industries, and therefore, they could not send funds back home to support their families as they normally would. 

I approached the Rotary Club of Bendigo South who willingly agreed to implement this project.   The necessity to support the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh to supply food to the needy was always going to be short-term requirement, so a 2-year limit was put on the project. 

We knew from our contacts that there was a long list of businesses and community members who were willing to contribute to the cause, but they required that a Tax concession be made available.   Establishing a RAWCS Project gives the ability to provide a Tax Deduction for contributions and fortunately I was able to establish the Project Emergency Food Distribution with RAWCS as Project No 27 of 2020/21.    

Over the life of the Project businesses, Rotary members, Clubs, and the community raised  a total of $17,606.75.    These funds allowed for the purchase of the following items in Cambodia and were distributed by the members of the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh. 

 230 X 25kgs bags of rice = 5-75 tonnes 

240 X 6 bottles of Soy sauce = 1,440 bottles 

240 X 6 bottles of fish sauce =1,440 bottles 

Packets of Noodles = 2,440 packets 

Packets of Canned Mackerel = 2,440 cans 

Boxes of Soy drinks = 1,632 drinks 

Cash to Purchase fresh meats = USD$2,300.00 

Over the life of the Project, Villages in Kampong Svay, Kampong Speu and Siem Reap were supported.  Each family was also provided with a mosquito net with every delivery.   The physical aspect of delivery was a mammoth task for the members and friends of the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh.