The initiative along Maginhawa Street, Quezon City, has been replicated in neighborhoods and barangays across the country.
Patricia Non, a resident of Quezon City, had to temporarily close down her small business due to the series of lockdowns imposed in Metro Manila. But what started as a small gesture for others who are also grappling with the pandemic created a ripple effect beyond what she had intended.
How The Maginhawa Community Pantry Started
It was April 14, 2021, Patricia Non started a small community pantry along her street in Maginhawa in Quezon City to benefit and send comfort to those most affected by the pandemic.
“Sabi ng pamilya ko, ang goal lang natin is mabuhay, to survive, magpalakas, kung may sakit, magpagaling. Ginawa ko naman siya pero hindi mawala sa isip ko na may mga taong hindi kayang mag-stay safe at stay home kasi nakasalalay ang pangkain nila sa everyday na livelihood,” she said.
The idea is to allow people to give and take what they need by their own volition, without the intervention of third parties.
“After ng lockdown, sinet up ko ang community pantry bilang pantawid gutom sa mga Pilipinong ganito ang nararanasan,” Non shared.
People are reminded to follow their simple reminder: “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha ayon sa pangangailangan” (Give what you can, take only what you need).
How Community Pantry Was Replicated
It began with a small cart parked unsupervised along a busy street. The idea was, anyone who needed it could get any of the food items on the cart, and anyone who could spare some could put something in.
Photos of this “community pantry”, and stories about a homeless man, a street sweeper, and a few others rummaging through the cart and picking just an orange or two, or a bottle of water quickly spread on social media.
There are now over a hundred of these community pantries across the Philippines, and more are sprouting up everywhere.
How To Lead A Community Pantry In Your Barangay
Do you want to start a community pantry in your barangay?
What started out as a lone initiative in Maginhawa created ripples across the country as several barangays put up their own community pantry or “bodegang bayan” to help Filipinos badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It began with a small cart parked unsupervised along a busy street. The cart contains rice, vegetables, milk, vitamins, face masks, canned goods, and many other items.
“Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (Give what you can, take what you need),” the pantry’s sign read, encouraging residents to share their supplies to those more in need.
“The fact na nagviral siya, ibig sabihin nandoon ‘yung pangangailangan. Hindi lahat may ayuda. Hindi lahat nakakakuha ng sapat na ayuda. So ito malaking bagay siya, ibig sabihin din gutom ‘yung mga Pilipino at kailangan nating magkaroon ng action,” Non said.
The initiative also moved other communities to replicate the act and make their own version of community pantries, like those in Marikina, San Mateo, Bacoor, Valenzuela, Los Baños, Makati, Sampaloc, and other areas of Quezon City.
Steps on how to lead a community pantry in your barangay
#1 Find Volunteers
Magtanong sa Kaibigan, Kapamilya, Kabarangay o mga kapitbahay kung may kakilala silang gusto tumulong!
A group chat (GC) and posting on Facebook and other social media can boost the start-up of the community pantry. Ask if they want to help.
#2 Make an inventory
Alamin kung ano ang kailangan para magsimula.
List an inventory of on excel or paper, also, the other things that will be needed like tables and signages with your volunteers.
#3 Find a spot that has a lot of foot traffic
If you live in a high-traffic area, you can consider setting up a pantry outside your home.
Once you’ve finalized the spot, inform people of the address so they can send donations or support, and those in need would know where to go.
#4 Set it up
Maglatag at Maglagay ng karatula.
Anything can be used like old shelves, tables, and chairs. For the signage, be creative explaining what is community pantry. Invite people to get based on what they need and give based on what they can. “Kumuha ng ayon sa pangagailangan, Magbigay ng ayon sa kakayanan.”
“Community effort din siya. Kung sakaling may mapapadaan, pwede nilang ayusin ‘yung pantry. Kung sakaling magdodonate sila, pwedeng i-ready nila ‘yung i-do-donate nila para ready to pick up na, ganon. So tulungan talaga tayo,” Non said, taking off from her experience.
You can also post reminders to observe health protocols and signages encouraging others to only take what they need and to give back what they can to help sustain the community pantry.
Images of Community Pantry
Where it all started. The Maginhawa Community Pantry photo by Patricia Non.
JJS Realty and Development Inc., a real estate developer that built Marian Heights Subdivision and Diamond Heights Subdivision in Lipa City Batangas, admire the sign of generosity thru the community pantry. Bayanihan through the community pantry is a sign that we are all in this together and we can help each other in our simple ways.
Thank you community pantry organizers! Kudos!