Bai Tong assists literacy cause

From Feb. 18 to March 28, Kitti and Jamjit Karunyasopon host their second Dine and Donate fundraiser for Project Literacy.

Making big moves with young children is difficult.

Moving halfway around the world to a country where you don’t speak the language is difficult.

Put the two together and it might seem impossible.

But in May 2000, with their two and a half and seven year old children in tow, Kitti and Jamjit Karunyasopon did the unthinkable—moved away from their home in Bangkok and traveled half way around the world to land in Kelowna, unable to speak any English.

How did they manage? They went to Project Literacy Kelowna Society for free English language tutoring.

“We spent two years working with our tutors,” said Jamjit.

After working seven years in a family-run restaurant, Kitti and Jamjit were able to save up enough money to open their own restaurant, called Bai Tong.

And now, they want to give back.

From Feb. 18 to March 28, the couple will host their second Dine and Donate fundraiser for Project Literacy.

People are invited to purchase $10 or $20 vouchers redeemable at Bai Tong restaurant Monday through Thursday for lunch, dinner or take-out, with 100 per cent of the voucher value going to Project Literacy.

The vouchers can be purchased at Project Literacy or at Bai Tong when there for a meal.

“We are so grateful to Kitti and Jamjit. I can’t thank them enough,” said Blair Lischeron, executive director of Project Literacy.

“It’s such a good idea. It could be called Donate and Dine—for free. It’s as close to the proverbial ‘free lunch’ you’ll ever get. And of course the food and atmosphere are fantastic.”

This is the second year Kitti and Jamjit have hosted Dine and Donate.

Last year, they were able to donate $4,000 to Project Literacy.

“We understand how hard it is for people when they don’t know English,” said Jamjit.

Bai Tong is best known for Jamjit’s Pad Thai, Chicken with Cashew Nuts and  their curry dishes.

Located at 275 Bernard Ave., the restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and seven nights a week from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. for dinner.

Project Literacy Kelowna Society recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of providing free tutoring to adults in the Central Okanagan.

Society tutors not only  helped Kitti and Jamjit to learn English, but they also help people to upgrade their reading, writing and math skills so they can improve their education or employment opportunities.

To learn more, check out the website www.projectliteracykelowna.org.