To sustain efforts, community pantries now up for adoption

August 24, 2021 - 6:11 PM
Pasay Community Pantry
Pastor Elmer Sarenas Leal giving out free Filipino ice cream in a community pantry in Pasay City. (Photo from Melynn Alipio Limjap via Facebook)

An interactive map an a list of community pantries in the country were released as part of a project that calls other organizations to “adopt” them as they continue to feed Filipinos from poorer neighborhoods.

The project called Adopt a Community Pantry Project was launched last Monday, August 23 to sustain and institutionalize these volunteer-driven food banks.

The movement of community pantries made waves and mainstream media coverage after organizer Ana Patricia Non set up a makeshift stall in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City last April.

Since then, more than 1,000 similar initiatives have sprouted in different parts of the country to help poor communities amid the national government’s delay in distributing cash aid.

RELATED: Ahead of ECQ, Patreng Non calls for donations for community pantries

To centralize and streamline these food programs, an interactive map via Google Maps was developed.

The map showed the locations of all the pantries and other resource persons such as trucking services for logistics and farmers who sell their crops in bulk quantities.

The map also has specific legends or symbols to represent a pantry, a trucking service or a supplier on the map.

Screenshot of the Community Pantry PH map captured on August 24, 2021
Screenshot of the Community Pantry PH map captured on August 24, 2021

Social media pages of these volunteer-led drives were also provided on the map.

Screenshot of the Community Pantry PH map captured on August 24, 2021
Screenshot of the Community Pantry PH map captured on August 24, 2021

The “adoption” projected also created an excel version of this information via Google Spreadsheet. You can access it here.

It also has a financial platform for smooth and transparent transactions.

Those who wish to donate or finance a pantry will course their donations to The Tanging Yaman Foundation of the Jesuit Province and the De La Salle Brothers, Inc. of the La Salle Brothers.

The Community Pantry PH, the go-to inquiry hub that Non created, will select the community pantries that will receive the funds, coordinate with the sponsors, and provide logistical and technical support for them.

Sponsors will then be directed to connect to the beneficiaries.

Individuals involved in forming Adopt a Community Pantry Project are:

  • Former education secretary Bro. Armin Luistro
  • Former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman
  • Former Cultural Center of the Philippines chair Emily Abrera
  • Fr. Tony Labiao, executive director of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
  • Rey Laguda, Philippine Business for Social Progress president
  • Bobby Calingo, executive director of the Peace and Equity Foundation
  • Mario Deriquito, president of BDO Foundation; Dan Songcopresident and CEO of PinoyME Foundation
  • Yvonne Palomar Castro, organizer of the North Commonwealth Community Pantry
  • Ana Patricia Non, pioneer of the Maginhawa Community Pantry

How to adopt

The program guidelines say that a community pantry requires funding from P2,000 to P20,000 depending on the size and families they provide for.

A community stall also caters to 100 to 500 families on average.

Here are three basic steps if you wish to be a sponsor:

  1. Find a community pantry of your choice through the map. It is advisable to find one near your home for convenience and foster a better working relationship.
  2. Organize your family, friends, and other loved ones to pool resources that you can commit for a period of time.
  3. For inquiries, you can send a message to [email protected] at the Maginhawa Community Pantry

The rest of the guidelines and details of the donation channels can be found here.

In a statement, Luistro said he was amazed by the outpouring support the public had given for this movement.

He hoped that this could be expanded further and reach more Filipinos from other parts of the country.

“The very encouraging show of support for community pantries shows that the inherent qualities of caring, sharing, and the bayanihan spirit are very much alive. They need to be harnessed to neutralize the prevailing negativity and political division among citizens,” he said.