ILIGAN CITY – Two sisters drew inspiration from a community pantry from faraway Maginhawa St. in Diliman, Quezon City, and set up their own in this city, the only place in Region 10 still under general community quarantine.
Initiated by their University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) schoolmate, Ana Patricia Non, the pantry was replicated by 23-year-old Lucia Silva and her younger sister, Luzianie, of Doña Maria Subdivision in Barangay Tubod here.
Silva, a UPD Mass Communications graduate, and her sister displayed canned goods, noodles, vegetables, and other grocery items in Barangay Saray, some four kilometers away from their house on Sunday.
All were gone in one hour.
The items were from friends and other donors who learned of their initiative online.
A reminder written in the vernacular was posted: Pick based on what you need.
“Give based on what you can afford,” Silva wrote, following the same message of her schoolmate, when she brought up the idea on her social media account.
She chose Purok 5, Sitio Canaway in Barangay Saray after finding out that several residents in the area lost their livelihoods because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They are construction workers, laborers at the port, jeepney and tricycle drivers, and vendors. They were minimum daily wage earners whose livelihood were lessened and other even lost their jobs,” Silva said in a phone interview on Sunday.
Purok (community) leaders helped them set up tables and made sure the residents are following standard health protocols.
“We did not have problems dealing with them (residents) because they were very disciplined. Although they were allowed to get as many as they can, they preferred to pick only a few so others can still have some for their families,” Silva said.
Silva also accepts cash donations through her money remittance account but she encourages donors to just leave food items on the pantry tables.
“The community leaders are in the area to facilitate the donors. We have a logbook so that the donations will be well accounted for. The cash donations I received will be posted on my social media for accounting purposes and transparency,” Silva said.
Donations are accepted daily but for now, distributions are on Sundays only.
“We are thinking of opening community pantries in other areas of Iligan if we receive more donations,” she said.
Pantry No. 2 Silva’s idea rubbed off on Manuel Jabay, a business owner in Barangay Tipanoy, with the pantry set right outside his store. Also on Sunday, he started off with packs of rice, noodles, canned goods, and juice drinks for children, worth PHP2,000 and source from his store. Jabay said 20 of his neighbors benefitted, mostly senior citizens.
“Tomorrow (Monday), I will set up another community pantry. I am putting more rice which I repacked today,” Jabay told the Philippine News Agency via online chat.
Silva later learned about Jabay’s pantry and came another light-bulb moment.
“I will propose a collaboration,” she said. (PNA)