The Community Pantry Movement Shows Off Filipino Spirit and Lack of Government Aid

Photos of the viral Maginhawa Community Pantry, set up by Ana Patricia Non, have touched Filipinos all over the country and reignited the spirit of bayanihan.

The Community Pantry Movement Shows Off Filipino Spirit and Lack of Government Aid
The first community pantry in Maginhawa
Photo from Anjo Bagaoisan

The concept, which seems simple enough, is to leave an item (vegetables, canned goods, even rice, fruits, and veggies!) and take what you need. There’s no room for greed or hoarding, and donations can be unlimited.

Since the popularity of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, many other “community pantries” have been popping up all over, in and out of the Metro. From Laguna all the way to Boracay, the sign “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan”, or “Give what you can, take only what you need,” can be seen propped up nationwide.

The initiative shows that Filipinos are eager to help, and that there are an equal amount of Filipinos that need a helping hand.

Recent news has shown long lines stretching across the block, with people waiting for the chance to grab a couple food items.

community pantry maginhawaapril 18 2021 04 1618737743950
Photo by Darren Langit

While the idea has been praised all throughout the Internet, the presence and need for such an initiative has struck a sore point for many other Filipinos.

Some say that the popularity of the community pantries highlight just how much Filipinos have been let down by the current government.

In a time where government aid is lacking, and many are still suffering from the effects of the second ECQ, the community pantry is being seen as the help that people should have gotten in the first place.

For Non, the pioneer for the Maginhawa Community Pantry, the idea definitely came from a place of frustration towards the country’s current situation. “Pagod na akong magreklamo,” she explained in an interview with Rappler. “Pagod na ako sa inaction.”  (I’m tired of complaining. I’m tired of inaction.)

Senator Panfilo Lacson also acknowledged the need for people to take matters into their own hands, after more than a year into the pandemic. “This is also a sign of desperation, that people can no longer rely on government to help them,” he said in an interview with DZBB.

Bayan Muna party party-list Representative Carlos Zarate echoed the sentiment in a press statement. “We should not forget that the rise of community pantries is emblematic of how the present administration, despite the available resources, grossly failed in its obligations to help millions of our poor people cope with the ravages of the crisis,” he said.

Despite the glaring realizations that the community pantry has brought out, the most important thing it has shown is the goodwill that a community can exude in times of hardship.

If you’d like to donate any more of your excess goods or contribute to the cause, here’s a list of community pantries across the country.

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