San Roque Community Pantry (Photo courtesy of Ron Fortaliza) 

Several “community pantries” have popped out in various parts of the country after the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City went viral last week and drew many beneficiaries and donors.

The Maginhawa Community Pantry was spearheaded by Ana Patrcia Non, a 26-year-old resident of Quezon City, who became fed up with the government’s inaction towards the pandemic response.

“‘Di nito masasagot ang root cause ng kagutuman pero okay na din na pantawid gutom sa mga nangangailangan. Mahirap magtrabaho, mag-aral, at lumaban habang kumakalam ang tiyan,” Non said in a Facebook post.

Non said it was good to “integrate” with the masses to get to know them better.

The small bamboo cart holding all the goods has a sign saying: “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan.”

It has inspired other communities to put up their own “pantries.”

San Roque Cathedral Community Pantry, a collaborative work by the Caloocan Young Leaders Initiative, Ronald Fortaliza, and organized by Patricia Denise Dizon in partnership with the San Roque Cathedral, now caters to in south Caloocan.

Fortaliza said the San Roque Cathedral Community Pantry was built to provide the needs of the people affected by the pandemic.

“We want this pantry to let the people of Caloocan know that there is help. And true enough, the community came together,” he said.

Dizon said that while there was no limitation on how much an individual could get, people were encouraged to get only enough to allow others to benefit.

“But who are we to tell them what ‘enough’ looks like? Endless empathy and understanding talaga,” she added.

Dizon and Fortaliza reminded the public to look out for each other while waiting for the government to respond to people’s needs and to always be empathetic.

Their initiative was intended to last until April 30, 2021, aligned with government pandemic mobility restrictions, but might last longer, until supplies lasted.

In Makati, the Give Hope Community Pantry was put up to be able to help those who were not getting assistance, according to Edralyn Cuevas, one of its organizers.

“One thing [about] our program is a Moving Community Pantry because everyday we will be located in different barangays around Makati District 1,” she said.

Cuevas said that the initiative was meant to “give hope” amid the pandemic.

“We believe in the saying ‘Ang kulang nagiging madami, ang sapat nagiging sobra,’” she said.

The initiative will run until supplies last and until there are people donating, but according to Cuevas, they will not stop looking for people who are willing to support the project.

Pantries have also sprouted in Baguio, Iligan, Pasig, Batangas, Valenzuela, Naga, Pandacan, Taguig, La Union, P. Noval Street in Mania, San Mateo, Rizal, and Laguna. H.B. Oledan.