'You don't have to be rich to help others': Community pantry organizers share desire to beat hunger

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2021 11:23 AM

Cheska Mungcal assists a resident at the community pantry set up at the corner of Panorama and Waco Street in Barangay Conception Dos, Marikina City on April 18, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Community pantries are popping up in Metro Manila in response to hunger and unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"You don't have to be rich to help others," Bing Hernando, co-organizer of Elisco Community Pantry in Pateros, told ANC Tuesday.

Hernando said she and her neighbors were inspired by the community pantry set up in Maginhawa Street, Quezon City.

In Matiyaga Street, Quezon City, residents also put up a community pantry, which serves at least 200 individuals daily.

"'Yan ang essence ng community pantry, walang masyadong bureaucratic process. Puwedeng kahit sino ang pumila regardless of your background. Sino ka man, basta may pangangailan ka, andiyan ang community pantry para makakuha ka ng pangangailangan mo," said Elijah San Fernando, organizer of Matiyaga Community Pantry.

(That's the essence of community pantry, there's not much bureaucratic process. Anybody can line up regardless of your background. Whoever you are, if you have something you need, the community pantry is there for you.)

Despite red-tagging of law enforcers of some community pantries, San Fernando said they would continue to serve those who were in need.

"Kung ang pagtulong sa nagugutom ay isang masamang bagay, kung ang pagtulong sa mga nangangailangan ay masamang bagay, then we are guilty as charged. Kasi tutulong kami kahit ano ang sabihin ng mga tao. Patuloy na mage-exist ang community pantries. The community pantries are existing simply because of the solidarity of the community," he said.

(If helping the hungry and the needy is a bad thing, then we are guilty as charged. Because we will help whatever people say. The community pantries will continue to exist...)

Hernando also urged politicians not to hijack such cause for their own selfish agenda.

"Sana huwag na pumasok 'yong mga politiko kasi nga (I hope politicians will not use this because) it is a joint effort with the community and with the residents," she said.

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