Just as the first Community Pantry in Maginhawa Street, QC gave birth to hundreds of community pantries in the country, the movement also sired many ideas that didn’t only address real needs but made us smile with their ingenuity. There’s the pantry in Matatag Street, also in QC, that offered condoms. There’s the one that gave out footwear. There’s one that offered books. And there’s the one that offered food for pets; it took on the name “community paw-ntry,” but of course.
Yesterday, we were so psyched to come across another wonderful idea: the “Community Pamasahe.” We saw it first on the Facebook wall of photographer and hobbyist Albert Labrador who also put up a community pantry in their area. It’s just a plastic takeout container filled with coins available to anyone “who needs spare change to make the ride home.”
The idea brought back memories of all those encounters we had in Manila’s streets with people asking for “pamasahe” so they can go home. It’s a real need and we’re glad people thought of this form of financial assistance as another feature of the community pantry. “The moment I put it up, someone who had just come from the community pantry line dumped about 30 pesos worth of coins in it,” offers Albert who says he got the idea from the multi-awarded singer-songwriter Gary Granada.
But there’s also a Community Pamasahe page on Facebook which, some say, started it all. It began a week ago, says the lady who answered our questions on Facebook Messenger, Amy Laspinas. It was a suggestion of a friend who also donated the seed money for the pamasahe box.
While only a few days old, Amy’s group has gathered quite a few stories from the Community Pamasahe. There were two men who asked for permission to dig in. “Sabi ko, sige po, para sa inyo yan,” Amy tells ANCX. “At nagsidakot, ang lalaki ng mga kamay. Halos naubos ang laman. Sabi ko, ‘Para lang po sa pamasahe ha, di para sa bigas. Sa Community Pantry na lang kayo pumunta para sa bigas.’” The two men said okay and thanked her before leaving.
A homeless man was asking if he could get some of the coins. “Pahingi daw, pambili pagkain,” recalls Amy. “Sabi ko, ‘Basahin mo, di yan para sa pagkain. Dito na lang sa tabing karinderia, bilhan ka natin ng pagkain.’” The man refused and insisted he wanted the coins. “Aba, pamasahe po yan, naglalakad ka lang naman paikot ikot,” Amy told him. Still, the man got some coins and said thank you to Amy before moving on.
Story 3: A suki of their store wanted to borrow money from Amy one time, because her tricycle fare was not enough. “Ay, meron tayong community pamasahe, hingi ka dito,” Amy told her. Later that day, the lady suki did not only leave some money for the Community Pamasahe coffer, she also recruited a donor who gave P500. “O, di ba?” says Amy.
To those who wanted to donate to the Community Pamasahe, drop your coins at the PGX Fair Trade Market, 112 Anonas Extension, Sikatuna Village, QC. Look for Amy Laspinas. You can also send donations via Gcash to 0916-3465827.
To those who want to donate money to the Labradors’ Community Pantry and Community Pamasahe, you may send your donations via Gcash to 09189793674. They also accept goods for distribution, says Albert.