Community pantries across the Philippines


As lockdowns are still in place due to the rising daily count of COVID-19 cases, the struggle to put food on the table has been a struggle for many whose livelihoods are compromised. 

But one woman’s idea to set up a bamboo cart pantry beside a tree in Maginhawa, Quezon City and fill it with goods has proven that through crisis, we can turn to each other for help. And less than a week since it started, the pantry has already inspired people in several cities across the Philippines to set up their own.


Maginhawa Food Pantry has inspired other communities


Community Pantries Philippines - Maginhawa Food PantryImage credit: AP Non 

It’s no wonder that the idea behind the humble Maginhawa Community Pantry, which has just started on 14th April through the initiative of 26-year-old furniture business owner Ana Patricia Non, has been lauded as a “good virus” across the country by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David via Onenews.ph.

Community Pantries Philippines - Maginhawa Food PantryImage credit: AP Non 

Born out of Non’s concern for families who are having a hard time making ends meet under quarantine restrictions, the pantry is a mutual aid initiative sustained by locals where anyone can donate basic goods – from canned goods to vegetables – and get what he or she needs in return. It goes by through the slogan “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (Give whatever you can, take only what you need.)”

Community Pantries Philippines - Maginhawa Food PantryImage credit: AP Non 

The project, which has already helped folks such as tricycle drivers and even encouraged donations from farmers, has since become an inspiration to various communities within Metro Manila and even as far as Boracay. 


Brgy. Holy Spirit’s Stand With The Poor pantry


Community pantries Philippines - Stand with the Poor Community Pantry at Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City
Stand with the Poor Community Pantry at Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City
Image credit:
Stand With The Poor Relief Drive and Operations

At Brgy. Holy Spirit in Quezon City, for example, organization Kadamay has established a pantry they named as “Stand with the Poor Community Pantry.” They also organize food sharing, and as of writing, they are serving Vegan Ginataang Roasted Monggo. 


Diocese Kalookan’s pantry at San Roque Cathedral


Community pantries Philippines - Diocese Kalookan’s pantry at San Roque Cathedral
Diocese Kalookan’s pantry at San Roque Cathedral
Image credit: @cbcpnews

Even the church has supported the initiative, as the pantry of Diocese Kalookan has been open since 18th April at the San Roque Cathedral. The city’s Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who launched the pantry, lauded the emergence of community pantries and called it “the clearest and most tangible signs of hope in the midst of the hopelessness brought about by this pandemic”. 


Pantries in Nueva Vizcaya and La Union


Community pantries Philippines - Pantries in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and San Fernando, La Union
Pantries in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and San Fernando, La Union
Image credit: Bayombong Community Pantry, Nica Flores

Further up north, folks from Nueva Vizacaya and La Union have also set up their own. A group of graduating college students put one up across from Quaddro Cafe in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, while locals in San Fernando, La Union organized a pantry in front of the bubble tea shop King & Queen Tea. 


Where to donate and receive goods in Boracay


Pantry in Bulabog, Balabag, Boracay
Pantry in Bulabog, Balabag, Boracay
Image credit: Fritz Mendez 

Behind Boracay’s white sand beaches, communities in the area have taken steps to help each other in need. In Bulabog, Balabag, Boracay, small restaurant owner Joana Rose Roman and her friends are one of the locals bringing the Maginhawa-inspired initiative to the touristic town. 

As Roman told the Philippine Star, despite life’s hardships, we must still choose to help and believe that help will be given to those who are in need. 


How to set up pantries in your area


Community pantries Philippines - How to set up pantries in your areaImage credit: Abolisyon

If you still don’t have a community pantry where you live, you don’t need a lot to set up in your barangay. Non-government organization Abolisyon has given us four easy tips. 

First, ask your friends and family if they want to help – you can do this by tagging them on a Facebook group chat. Second, list down what you need – from the food to the furniture you’ll assemble in putting a pantry – on an Excel spreadsheet.

Community pantries Philippines - How to set up pantries in your area
Image credit: @cbcpnews

Afterwards, find a location frequented by and accessible to many people. Then, set up your own pantry, add a sign, and let your fellow locals know about your pantry. 


Helping one another through community pantries


If there’s one thing we can learn from the community pantries popping up here and there lately, it’s that we don’t need to have so much to help others. Community pantries show us how we can help each other through small ways. 

To know where you can donate and get goods in your community, contact your respective barangays or check out this map and database.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from (clockwise from top left): Stand With The Poor Relief Drive and Operations, AP Non, @cbcpnews, Bayombong Community Pantry

 

 

Follow The Smart Local Philippines on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram for more stories like this. If you have a story to share, email us at pressph@thesmartlocal.com.