How a t-shirt can help Malaysian F&B businesses survive Covid-19 and feed the less fortunate

All profits from the t-shirt sales will be channelled towards The Lost Food Project to feed underprivileged Malaysians. — Picture courtesy of That One Thing
All profits from the t-shirt sales will be channelled towards The Lost Food Project to feed underprivileged Malaysians. — Picture courtesy of That One Thing

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PETALING JAYA, June 10 — Multidisciplinary creative collective That One Thing is serving up their Food for Thought project to help those hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis 

This includes local food and beverage (F&B) businesses who are easing into the new normal as well as underprivileged folks who are unable to afford a meal in the midst of the pandemic.

To address this, That One Thing has partnered with 15 eateries in the Klang Valley and Penang to create a unique t-shirt aimed at foodies who want to wear their love for their neighbourhood cafes and restaurants on their sleeve.

Retailing for RM99, all profits from the t-shirt sales will go to The Lost Food Project (TLFP), a not-for-profit organisation that pioneered sustainable food banking in Malaysia, rescuing perfectly edible, good-quality, nutritious surplus food and distributing it to those living in food poverty.

TLFP has provided over 180,000 meals for the less fortunate since the movement control order (MCO) began on March 18.

That One Thing co-founder Andrew Chew said that the inspiration behind Food for Thought is rooted in the unprecedented challenges faced by small F&B brands under the MCO, which directed restaurants and cafes to shut down dine-in operations and rely on takeaways or food deliveries only.

At the same time, they wanted to spotlight the struggles of those facing food poverty in the country through their partnership with TLFP.

TLFP rescues surplus groceries that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. — Picture courtesy of The Lost Food Project
TLFP rescues surplus groceries that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. — Picture courtesy of The Lost Food Project

“Since we are foodies, we wanted to create something that can boost awareness of local F&B businesses while thinking of those who are not fortunate enough to have a meal during this period.

“That’s how we came up with Food for Thought

“We want to encourage people to think about the food they have on their tables while keeping in mind those who cannot afford to feed themselves,” Chew told Malay Mail.

That One Thing will be taking pre-orders for the t-shirt on their website until June 30 and they aim to sell at least 200 pieces during the campaign.

They will also be hosting a question and answer session with their F&B partners on Instagram to get their thoughts on how they’ve adapted their business to survive the MCO.

The aptly-titled Yum Cha Sessions will also muse on the power of food to bring communities together during a time where many people are physically separated from their loved ones due to the pandemic.

Restaurateurs will be giving their thoughts on Covid-19's impact on the F&B industry in the Yum Cha sessions. — Picture courtesy of That One Thing
Restaurateurs will be giving their thoughts on Covid-19's impact on the F&B industry in the Yum Cha sessions. — Picture courtesy of That One Thing

Chew hopes that the collaboration will lend a helping hand to small F&B businesses as they slowly but surely get back into the groove of things once the country transitions into the recovery movement control order (RMCO), which kicks in today on June 10.

He added that business for restaurants and cafes is starting to pick up again as restrictions have lifted, allowing more Malaysians to dine out with confidence.

“A majority of F&B businesses have seen a drop in sales in the last few months and keeping their staff employed is also a challenge. 

“Staying strong and keeping resilient are key factors for them to weather this crisis.

“From the initial conversations that we’ve had with our F&B partners until now, things have picked up and we notice that most of the cafes and restaurants are getting busier so it’s a good sign.”

TLFP has rescued more than 1.2 million kilogrammes of food from going to waste since 2016 by giving them to thousands of Malaysians living on or below the poverty line. — Picture courtesy of The Lost Food Project
TLFP has rescued more than 1.2 million kilogrammes of food from going to waste since 2016 by giving them to thousands of Malaysians living on or below the poverty line. — Picture courtesy of The Lost Food Project

By joining hands with TLFP, the Food for Thought project will reach over 6,000 beneficiaries in addition to 100,000 B40 residents through weekly distribution programmes to people's housing project (PPR) flats.

The 15 eateries in Food for Thought include Fin, Provisions, Kenny Hills Bakers, Table & Apron, Palillos Yakitori Bar, Urban Daybreak, Fluffed Cafe & Dessert Bar, Underscore Coffee, Piu Piu Piu, Universal Bakehouse, Li Restaurant, Backdoor Bodega, Kofi by 77, Hold Up Coffee Bar, and Foo Foo Fine Desserts.

For more information on the project and pre-orders for the t-shirt, check out That One Thing’s website.

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