Even before the emergence of community pantries, a man from Marikina has been going around his neighborhood on a bicycle to give food and other goods to individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jerico Ramota started his “Rolling Bayanihan” on the third week of March, 2020, when the National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under lockdown for the first time.
Ramota said he gives out food at least three to five times a week around Barangay Malanday where he resides.
The 31-year-old, however, had to temporarily stop his “Rolling Bayanihan” in April, 2021, because his bicycle needed to be repaired.
In May, Ramota thought of starting a “moving pantry” which he called the “Blessed Community Pantry.”
In his “Rolling Bayanihan,” Ramota uses his bicycle with a sidecar to move his pantry to different locations around his barangay.
He has so far gone to three different areas around Brgy. Malanday and will be having his fourth set up on Sunday.
Asked why he wanted to start a moving pantry, Ramota said: “Para mapuntahan din po yung ibang area kasi usually nakita namin sa isang lugar, hindi lahat may pantry (So that we can go to other areas, because usually, not all areas have a pantry).”
Ramota said he also plans to bring his pantry to communities outside Barangay Malanday, especially if more donations will come in.
He said he said started his projects to help people in need because he knows how it feels to have nothing.
“Ang nagudyok po sa amin tumulong, dahil alam namin yung pakiramdam ng walang wala na tila ba wala ng pagasa o may nagmamalasakit (What pushed me to help was because I know the feeling of having nothing, the feeling of hopelessness like there’s no one that cares for you),” he told Manila Bulletin in an interview.
“Ngayong pandemic marami po ang nangangailangan ng tulong at kalinga. Hindi man nila sabihin ngunit mararamdaman ito ng ating puso kung ito man ay ating bubuksan (This pandemic, a lot of people are in need of help and caring. Even though they don’t say it, but when we open our hearts, we will feel that need),” he added.
Ramota also encouraged others to help in their own little way to inspire more people.
“Hindi kailangan mag-trending ang pagtulong or makilala sa social media para ipakita sa bayan or sa mundo na isa kang inspiration…Maikli lang ang buhay, gamitin po natin sa tama at maging makabuluhan (You don’t need to trend or get acknowledged through social media to be an inspiration…Our life is short, let’s live it right and make it meaningful),” he said.