The Bayanihan spirit that started in Maginhawa St. Quezon City, initiated by Ann Patricia Non, created a ripple effect in less than a week. Thus, it came without a surprise why community pantries or bodega ng bayan sprouted like mushrooms nationwide.
But while many organizers set up tables on their main streets, Go Bike Project, in the Municipality of Bugallon, Pangasinan, thought of using their pedicab to collect donations and bring the foods to those who really need them the most.
Headed by Edren Llanillo, Go Bike Project is an independent youth-led organization that trains the youth to become first aider and community responders in times of accident and calamities.
Since March last year, when the lockdown happened due to the pandemic, Go Bike Project roams around Bugallon to do regular medical services like blood pressure monitoring and blood sugar check to fellow Pangasinense. But when Edren saw the Maginhawa community pantry, he got inspired to add it to their pedicab health service.
“I bought some groceries and asked people who are close to me to contribute in order to start the food drive. We also got support from non-government organizations (NGOs) like World Vision who donated rice and soon will give us groceries too. And our municipal government risk management office (MGRMO) gave us alcohol for our protection,” said Edren in Filipino.
“Today is our pilot run and many have already appreciated the Pantry Bike. We’re surprised to get monetary and lots of in-kind donations such as rice and vegetables,” Edren continued. “We coordinate with Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) members in different barangays, who are also Go bikers, so we can identify the poorest of the poor and deliver the goods with health services directly in their houses.”
According to Edren, since the community pantry is feared to be a virus super spreader due to the long lines and crowding it creates, the pantry bike could be a good alternative way to avoid wide spread transmission of the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, community pantry organizers always remind people that the best defense from getting the virus when in the pantry is to wear a face mask and face shield, apply alcohol, and observe social distancing.