Vice President Leni Robredo was all praises for Ana Patricia Non, the proponent of the Maginhawa community pantry that has since snowballed to other communities with its innovative give-what-you-can, take-what-you-need approach.
Robredo said even at a young age, Non already understands the difficulties faced by the communities around her.
“Gaya ng sabi ko, iyong example mo, parang pinukaw mo iyong spirit of bayanihan sa atin lahat. Sana marami pang tulad mo at sana maraming ma-inspire pa ‘pag nalaman iyong kwentong ginawa mo kasi marami talaga iyong nakikinabang (Like what I said, your example inspired the spirit of Bayanihan in all of us. I hope there will be many more like you and more will be inspired when they learned of your story because many will benefit from it),” Robredo told Non, who was a guest on her radio show Sunday, April 18.
Non is a resident in Quezon City who set up by bamboo cart along Maginhawa Street in Diliman, Quezon City filled with donated food items such as vegetables, rice, vitamins, coffee, and canned goods, among others, depending on the day’s stocks.
Needy residents can take what they need, even personal hygiene products and face masks.
Since Non established the community pantry, others followed suit. There are now similar pantries around Metro Manila, as well as in other nearby provinces.
The move, Non said, was to help those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic that has since put many parts of the country under strict lockdowns, forcing people out of livelihoods.
Robredo noted that farmers from as far as Tarlac decided to donate to Non’s community pantry because of the inspiration she set. Even in her home province of Bicol, there’s two in Naga City.
“Your story is so inspiring because you showed that you don’t need to be rich to help,” she said in Filipino. “You don’t need to do big things. Like yours, you started small but it caused such a huge reverberation.”
Non said she didn’t expect her post to go viral and inspire many other community pantries.
The reason why she made the post public was to reach her community.
“So tingin ko naman po hindi po siya magvaviral kung hindi po siya nakakarelate iyong mga tao. Tapos tingin ko po kaya nakakarelate ang mga tao kasi literal na malapit po sa sikmura eh. Pagkain na po ang pinag-uusapan natin (So, I think it will not go viral if the people were not able to relate. I think the people were able to relate because this is literally about hunger. We are talking about food),” Non told Robredo.
Non also stressed that community pantries like hers showed that there are shortcomings.
She encouraged the public to start their own grocery stands as a way to “empower everyone to help each other.”
“Tapos ano rin po, medyo malungkot din po kasi evident na talaga na kulang ang mga nakukuha ng mga tao. Tapos kailangan talaga ng—kailangan po natin magtulong-tulong (It is also sad because it is evident that what we are getting is not enough. We need to help each other),” she said.
It’s a mix of happiness and sadness, Non added, although she sees the community pantry as a movement for people to unite.