Community pantries across the country

When Maginhawa Community Pantry initiator Ana Patricia Non installed the modest bamboo cart along the popular dining strip, she made it clear that it was not meant to solve the country’s hunger problem. 

“‘Di nito masasagot ang root cause ng kagutuman, pero okay na din na pantawid gutom sa mga nangangailangan,” she said in her Facebook post on April 14, which has since been shared over 14,000 times as of this writing. 

THE OG COMMUNITY PANTRY. The first community pantry installed by Ana Patricia Non at Maginhawa Street, Quezon City. (Photo by Ana Patricia Non/Facebook)

The rule is simple: “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan. Kumuha batay sa pangangailangan” (Give whatever you can. Take only what you need). A set-up such as this relies on two things: honesty and sustainability. 

A few days since the “pan-tree” opened, two things became clear to Non: first, people only take what they need, even those who need it the most. A homeless man only took two pieces of orange despite others encouraging him to take more, saying “ito lang naman ang kakainin ko.” And if others took more than what they seem they actually need, Non appeals to people to keep an open mind. 

“Para sa akin bago tayo mainis ay suriin din muna natin ang kalagayan kung bakit ganon yung actions nung mga tao. Wala din siguro tayo sa tamang posisyon na i-judge ang mga tao kung nakakain tayo tatlong beses sa isang araw. Iba iba din naman ang struggle at privileges natin,” she said in one of her Facebook updates. 

And the second thing, people – when they can, even in their own little ways – will give to others. The farmers from Tarlac donated sweet potatoes, tricycle drivers helped in repacking rice, fishermen  from Binangonan donated their surplus catch, and other groups and individuals started their own community pantries, extending the reach to more people in need. 

Clockwise from top left: Matiyaga Community Pantry in Quezon City. (Photo by Elijah San Fernando/Facebook) | Community pantry at Narra Street, Quezon City organized by labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno. (Photo from KMU/Facebook) | Community pantry installed by Feed It Forward PH in Barangay Tunasan, Muntinlupa City. (Photo by Mark Daniel Tarre/Facebook) | IAM Pasig Food Tour Group Community Pantry in Barangay Caniogan, Pasig City. (Photo by Ingrid Mediarito/Facebook) | P. Noval Community Pantry in Sampaloc Manila in front of Mang Tootz Food House. (Photo by Toots Vergara/Facebook) | Balibago Community Pantry in Pampanga. (Photo by Lu Lagazo Labung/Facebook) |  Community Pantry Boracay in Bulabog, Balabag, Boracay. (Photo by Roxy Yuri Maggie/Facebook) | Community pantry located at San Roque Cathedral, 10th Avenue, Caloocan City. (Photo by Ron Fortaliza/Facebook) | Community pantry inside Manila’s walled city. (Photo from Intramuros Administration/Facebook)

Using their own tables, shelves, carts, and even cartons, these community pantries are open for those in need and those who can give:

– Community Pantry at P. Noval in Sampaloc, Manila (beside Mang Tootz Food House)

– Intramuros Community Pantry at Plaza Roma in Intramuros, Manila

– San Roque Community Pantry at San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan

– Community Pantry at Narra St. Project 3, Quezon City 

– Community Pantry at 34 Matiyaga Street, Quezon City

– Feed it Forward PH Community Pantry in Barangay Tunasan, Muntinlupa City (in front of St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish and Diocesan Shrine)

– IAM Pasig Food Tour Group Community Pantry at Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue cor. Liwayway Street (in front of Buffalo Swing)

– Community Pantry at 106 Lilac Street, SSS Village, Concepcion Dos, Marikina

– Community Pantry in Batangas City 

– Community Pantry in Bulabog, Boracay

– Iligan Community Pantry at Purok 5, Canayaw in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

– Community Pantry in Angeles, Pampanga

More community pantries are sprouting across the country, with many expressing desire to launch their own in their communities. Those who want to help sustain the Maginhawa Community Pantry, Non encourages in kind donations (drop off to 96 Maginhawa Street, Diliman, Quezon City) or cash donations sent to GCash (0945-145-4390) or BDO (001430247639). 

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