For the Common Good: Distributing Food in Cambodia

St. Thomas’ mission of enhancing the common good runs deeper and expands beyond the campus’ parameter. For many students, the saying has been woven into their identity throughout their four-year experience, even becoming some individuals’ life mantras.

The Newsroom is highlighting some people who have studied at Opus College of Business undergraduate programs and who have magnified diversity, youth empowerment, the well-being and safety of the Twin Cities community and beyond.

In this installment, learn more about Hao Taing ’23.

Jamie Tjornehoj

An international student at the University of St. Thomas by day and CEO by night, Taing is using his operations and supply chain management major to develop his nonprofit business, Local4Local, back in his home country of Cambodia.

The idea for Local4Local began amid the pandemic. Last April, Taing explained he watched his entire city go on lockdown for 14 days.

“No one could go outside. There was a line blocking my house so no one could go outside,” he explained.

The city enforced different zones – green being the least restrictive and red being the most. The red zones represented the most COVID-dominant areas in the city.

“People were in demand of food because they couldn’t go outside,” he said.

Recognizing his privilege and ability to help, Taing began creating Local4Local, a food distribution program that has delivered over 27,000 meals and helped more than 8,800 families.

“[Local4Local] started a day before my 21st birthday. It all started with the idea of using social media and the blessings that I have for good,” he said.

The meals are transported on cyclos, a tricycle that is used as a labor-intensive method of human transit.

“Every day we give out around 200-300 meals,” he said.

Reuters Photo

In addition to Local4Local, Taing has recently created a Futuristic Cyclo Art Exhibition in Cambodia that features progressive Cyclo artwork. The exhibition featured 60 artists.

“It took three to four months to launch. It’s [made up of] all young artists in Cambodia, all under the age of 30,” he said.

The exhibition reimagines the future of the cyclo with the involvement of technology. An online version of the exhibition can be found here.