An Ark

Published April 23, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

In this virus time, it gives me goose bumps to hear the word contagious. However, this is not about COVID’s virulence that we hear and read day in and day out with our ears already oozing with information overload. I am talking about the contagion effect on the act of kindness of Ana Patricia Non in putting up the first ever community pantry along Maginhawa Street in Diliman, Quezon City.

It’s devoid of political color. It was born out of sincere concern for the people in her community who lost their means of livelihood, are suffering and in dire strait because of the pandemic.

It’s comparable to the feeding program that kind-hearted persons, NGOs, corporates, Rotary clubs and other organizations do as part of its community program and corporate social responsibility.

Out of the goodness of heart, Ms. Ana Patricia planted the seed of compassion. Her good intention did not escape the inquisitive, nosey, prying eyes of journalists.

I christened Maginhawa as the diner strip of Teacher’s Village. Just to digress a bit, I am a foodie junkie. Back then when mobility was unrestricted, I find myself going to places that serve good food like Maginhawa with restaurants and diners that sprouted along the street.

 As I was scheduled to go back to Maginhawa Street to savor the steak in Fat Cousins pandemic was declared and dining out was a non-no. A mid-class diner of Angel’s Burger, it is managed by Joma Mojica. It was named after the fat cousins of the de Leon-Mojica clan. One of them is my adopted Josh, the son of News Editor Isabel de Leon. They were fat then, now the love handles are nowhere in sight.  

 More than a week past, the seed flourished and the community pantry attracted donors – corporates and individuals, including farmers and participated in this endeavor. Soon after the cupboard was brimming with produce and basic items with concerned citizens lending a helping hand to share the goodies.

To some, the community cupboard (cupboard sounds more pleasant and devoid of misconception) projects an altogether different impression, giving it a different twist. The “negative spin” led to its temporary closure Tuesday. Clarified, it’s back in harness Wednesday.

Business leaders are amazed with this noble undertaking. Makati Business Club President Ed Chua praised Ms. Ana Patricia .

“I think the community pantry is a great initiative. It’s part of our culture as Filipinos and Christians to help those in need.” It showcased the inherent traits of Filipinos: the “kapit-bisig” (arms linked) and the “bayanihan” spirit, particularly during trying times. 

 It’s heartwarming to note that one of the lessons we’ve learned from this lockdown is to queue. At Maginhawa, people quietly lined up to partake of the goodies. Just enough.

“The beneficiaries also help others by taking only portions to leave something for others. It’s a realization by the public that there is a gap in what the government can provide versus what is needed.”

Victory Liner president Marivic del Pilar is in agreement with Mr. Ed, describing the community pantry as an innovative way of filling in the “gap in community service” so desired at this time. Lending a helping hand is well-entrenched in both Ms. Marivic and Mr. Ed. A former president of the Rotary Club-Makati Paseo de Roxas, she spearheads Victory Liner to help ease the lives of those impacted by man-made and natural calamities – Marawi and Taal volcano eruption.

 An ARK. BDO chief market analyst Jonas Ravelas equated the community pantry to a window of opportunity “for each one of us to demonstrate an Act of Random Kindness (ARK) as we journey through this pandemic storm.” 

This ARK is currently being replicated nationwide.

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