Scholars of Sustenance [SOS] is a food rescue organisation focused on the collection and redistribution of surplus food. Since the pandemic there has been a significant drop in the quantity of quality of surplus food coming in from the normally flourishing tourist destination.
As the pandemic continues to halt tourism and travel across the planet, Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination, “Bali” has hundreds of thousands of residents without access to life’s basic necessity of food.
Scholars of Sustenance decided in early March 2020 to shift gears as the people who need aid grows exponentially every day. They faced the pandemics effects on the economy head on by launching various programs including the “SOS Rescue Kitchen” that currently cooks and distributes over 2000 meals per day and the “SOS Village Outreach Program” which distributes 200 Care Packages filled with basic necessities: cooking oil, rice, vegetables, eggs, tempe and extra items we have been given by generous donors. These care packages are designed to be enough for 4-6 days of food.
Amidst the difficulties of the pandemic, SOS had to find a way to provide even more relief. So, to rally the community together for a large-scale fundraising effort, they created the landmark event, Million Meals Paddle.
The Million Meals Paddle is essentially a sea-based raced where brave volunteers would paddle a whopping 10+KM, combatting the elements, waves, wind, heat – and torrential rain decided to join in on the day. – to raise funds for SOS.
The Million Meals Paddle gathered 60+ “Bali Lovers” from across the planet to rally their networks in raising funds for the people of Bali. The race was broken up into board division categories and separate start times to limit the amount of people gathering on land and in the water. SOS worked closely with the Indonesian authorities in maintaining social distance protocols and assuring all necessary safety protocols were in place.
The paddle itself was a gruelling challenge of one’s body, spirit and mind in a self-sacrificial journey across the Indian Ocean. The paddle was essentially a race from the white sandy shores of the Kuta Airport to the final destination of the world-famous surfing beach Batu Belong.
The event itself started at the beautiful “Pantai Jerman” in Kuta, Tuban with registrations, a light and nutritious breakfast provided by Milk n Madu, deliciously decadent coffee from Namaskara & Langgen GMK all enjoyed with the music played by one of Redbulls DJs. Before the paddlers could start to tackle the 10km, they had to put on their custom Million Meals Paddle Rashguards provided by Bali Swim, convene under the awesome RedBull tent and receive their professional safety briefing from Jonni from SUP/FOIL Bali alongside Baliwasita Badung (Life Guards) who all made sure that every paddler made it from one beach to the other safe and sound.
Batu Bolong Beach is where the paddlers had to go, the finish line and awards ceremony was held at “Oldmans” run by Tudor who helped formalise the idea of a charity paddle event. The Awards and Closing Ceremony was a blast with cold beer provided by Bintang, a delicious BBQ feast and the best live music arranged by Tudor and a bunch of awesome prizes to be won from Beachfront Komune Resort, Hardrock Hotels, Bali Eco Stay, Mana Earth Resort, Mozaic, Hi Sugars and more!
The Million Meals Paddle raised just over IDR 1 BILLION in funds, which will equate to approximately 400.000 nutritious meals, which SOS will distribute to the island’s neediest communities.
The SOS projects manager and event organizer “DJ Denton” said “the event was absolutely amazing as the paddlers brought a unbelievable energy into the event and due to their efforts, gave SOS the opportunity to bring back the spirit of Bali”. The incredible energy and success of the event convinced SOS to hold The Million Meals Paddle annually in order to recreate the magic and relive the day that captures the spirit of Bali and brings people together for a common cause.
For more information on Scholars of Sustenance Bali and what they’re doing, please check out their Instagram @sos.indoneisa1 or check out their website www.scholarsofsustenance.org where you can join their efforts in feeding the people in Bali.