Two Filipino vendors warmed the hearts of the public with their charitable gestures amid the rise of different community pantries.
Elmer Sarenas Leal, a seller of sorbetes or Filipino ice cream, went viral after Facebook user Melynn Alipio Limjap shared his initiative on social media on Wednesday.
Limjap narrated that she initially thought Sarenas went to their area at the Barangay 136 Pasay Community Pantry to sell his goods. She was surprised when the vendor offered the ice cream for free.
“May konting pantawid sa araw na ito, may pa-ice cream pa! Nakakataba ng puso. Kahit alam natin na si Manong tindero ay may pangangailangan din, kusa pa rin silang nagbibigay,” she wrote on Facebook.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Sarenas said that this was his way to show compassion to his fellow Filipinos amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report said he earns P500 daily from selling ice cream while also serving in the church.
“Bunsod ng tunay na pagmamalasakit sa kapwa, maaaring maipadama sa iba sa simpleng paraan,” Sarenas said.
The ice cream vendor added that he is happy that several Filipinos are making sacrifices to set up community pantries to extend help to those in need.
“Sobrang kagalakan po sa simpleng sakripisyo, maraming natuwa at may mga na-challenge na gumawa din ng mabuti sa kabila ng hindi ako mayaman sa salapi, kundi mayaman ako sa kabutihan,” Sarenas said.
“Napakabuti ng community pantry kasi dito mai-apply ang pagtulong na walang pinipili o itinatangi dahil ito ang kalooban ng Diyos, maging ang pagdadamayan sa isa’t isa,” he added.
Another vendor, Alberto Calanza, was similarly lauded online for donating three packs of noodles to the pioneer Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City despite losing his business due to the pandemic.
His daughter said Calanza has resorted to selling goods around the city. He earns P300 on a lucky day.
“Wala ako plano na magbigay, pero habang lumalapit ako, may nagbubulong sa akin, parang natuwa ako. ‘Yun, bigla ko lang inabot sabay alis. Gusto ko sana parang bula lang ako na iaabot ko. ‘Yun lang, tapos tuloy-tuloy ako sa hanap-buhay ko,” he said in an interview.
Calanza was initially spotted by ABS-CBN journalist Jervis Manahan, who thought that the vendor would be among the ones lining up at the community pantry.
To his surprise, Calanza gave goods instead.
“May he earn more than enough today so he can keep on giving, and may the universe return his generosity tenfold,” Manahan tweeted before.
He detailed the incident on his Twitter and eventually got in touch with Calanza.
I was preparing for my morning live report when a man on a cart selling goods (on pic) passed by the pantry. He handed me a plastic bag with three packs of noodles.
Not knowing what to do with it (and I was busy preparing), referred him to a volunteer. 1/n pic.twitter.com/uXXinPKhui
— Jervis Manahan (@JervisManahan) April 21, 2021
Manahan’s post, which went viral on the microblogging platform, also landed on local Reddit‘s trending list.