Bulacan residents put up community pantries

Published April 21, 2021, 11:39 AM

by Richa Noriega

Inspired by the Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City, some Bulacan residents have put up their own version of community pantries in front of the church, beauty salon, and food establishments to help those affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Cristobal)

The residents of Angat and Norzagaray in Bulacan have come up with the initiative to set up their own community pantries to uplift the Bayanihan spirit during distress times, two of them are at the Sta. Monica de Angat Parish Church and in front of a beauty salon.

“This initiative might be simple as it may look but the spirit behind it is powerful for the residents,” Rafael Flores, one of the organizers, told the Manila Bulletin.

“That spirit of bayanihan being seen in action really inspired us to do our part. Hopefully, [we] encourage more of our kababayans to act and to look after one another,” he added.

The community pantry set up at the patio grounds of Sta. Monica Church, dubbed as “Hiraya ng Pag-asa Community Pantry,” was packed with food items including noodles, biscuits, coffee, and vegetables among others.

“We hope to engage a united people looking out for those less privileged. We can still come together and work together. Hope is still alive,” Flores said.

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For those interested to give donations for Hiraya ng Pag-asa Community Pantry, they can visit the Facebook Page: Hiraya ng Pag-asa – Angat Community Pantry Initiative and leave them a message.

Since Bulacan has been placed under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), personal care services including beauty salons and beauty parlors are among the industries not allowed to operate during MECQ.

For beauty salon owner July Abestro, she used her beauty salon as a place to set up a community pantry in the meantime.

(Photo courtesy of July Abestro)

“Ginawa po namin ito sa labas lang ng salon namin. Since hindi pa naman maaring mag-operate ang salon (We set up the community pantry outside our salon. Since the salon is not yet able to operate under MECQ),” Abestro told the Manila Bulletin.

The table set up was packed with packs of rice, eggs, noodles, canned goods, coffee, bread, and vegetables among others.

“Patuloy po tayong mag-ingat. Doble at ibayong pag-iingat at pag-alaga sa sarili ang ating gawin para makaiwas po tayo na mai-dagdag sa mga nai-inffect ng COVID-19 (Let’s continue to be careful. We must take extra precautions and take care of ourselves to avoid being added to those affected by COVID-19),” Abestro reminded her fellow residents.

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Donors may drop off their in-kind donations at July’s Salon in San Roque, Angat, Bulacan or send cash donations via G-Cash at 0927 283 1832 and 0933 920 7299.

In Norzagaray, Bulacan, community pantries were set up in front of the famed food establishments in the area including milktea store and lomi house.

In a simple table set up in front of a milk tea store DripTea, one of the organizers Kimberly Cristobal said that the initiative was also created with a purpose “to serve God.”

(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Cristobal)

 “I attended an online church last Sunday and the topic made me want to give back for all the blessings I have received,” Cristobal told the Manila Bulletin.

Cristobal said the pantry was packed with essential goods including eggs, rice, noodles, and vegetables bought from the street vendors to also help them.

“Magtulong-tulong tayo para malagpasan ang krisis na ating kinakaharap. Tayo na mismo ang magtulungan at magbigay ng ayuda sa mga mas nangangailangan (Let us work together to overcome the crisis. We should work together and provide assistance to those were in greater need),” she added.

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Posted by Kimberly Cristobal on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

For those who want to donate, they can drop off items in front of DripTea Poblacion, Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan or they can contact the organizers at mobile number (0933) 350 6617.

Meanwhile, one of the famed lomi houses, Yassy’s Kitchen in Norzagaray, has also opened its own community pantry. The table set up was filled with vegetables, rice, noodles, and canned goods.

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Marmin Casimiro, one of the organizers, reminded the residents to wear face masks and face shields while lining up for the community pantry. Donations can be drop-off in Yassy’s Kitchen, Norzagaray crossing branch.

Several community pantries have sprouted in Metro Manila and in the provinces with the aim of giving food and supplies to everyone in need amid the economic difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.