Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said on Monday, April 19, that community pantries are Filipinos’ way of being proactive against hunger amid the lack in government aid.
‘’It warms the heart. It fills the tummy. This is a big deal. People power against hunger and want. I believe that there’s no greater power than a united empathetic action altogether toward one goal,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
‘’It’s a sort of community aid while waiting for government aid. Or as bridge when the aid arrives because government aid might have not been enough to fill the needs of our people.”
‘’Where else do we get courage and strength to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic but from each other?” he added.
First started by Ana Patricia Non along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, the community pantry encourages people to donate essential goods, and people are free to acquire said goods from the makeshift pantries based on their need. “Magbigay ayon sa kakahayan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (Give based on ability, get based on need),” it said.
It has since spread nationwide, with pantries being set up as far as Bicol and Bohol.
Pangilinan believes that the community pantry could benefit from the produce so-called “plantitos and plantitas” who took to urban gardening and farming during the pandemic.
‘’We can see here our fellow Filipinos’ wish for fresh vegetables and other agricultural products. Normally these are not part of the relief packs distributed as food aid. Many started urban farming during the pandemic — maybe there is an opportunity to marry the two initiatives,” he said.
He said he also plans to donate fresh organic vegetables from his Cavite farm in community pantries in Calabarzon.
‘’This is better than our harvest just turning to waste because our market of restaurants shut down due to the pandemic. Harvest surplus will be given to those who need them,” Pangilinan said.