Tips from pros: How to sustain community pantries
MANILA, Philippines — Community pantries sprouted like mushrooms in neighborhoods as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic that has pummelled economies worldwide.
For quite a long time now, these public cupboards were teeming with free food and necessities for people whose capacities to provide for their families were turned upside down by COVID-19. Lately, however, community pantries nationwide seemed to be facing a challenge as a decline in supplies became noticeable: how to sustain it?
A group of volunteers named Community Pantry PH shared some tips.
“The difficult part is basically sustaining…,” admitted Jenny Non, sister of Maginhawa Community Pantry organizer Patricia Non, during an online press conference on Monday. “First thing, how do you help? You donate or volunteer directly to community pantries.”
“In terms of sustainability, we developed the Adopt a Community Pantry Program,” she added.
Jenny explained that the program aims to gather family, friends, and village associations, among others, to pool resources or funds to provide support to a community pantry for a certain period.
“If that’s something that you can basically pool together and provide on a weekly basis that’s something that the community pantry organizers can actually use to sustain their pantry because they know that fixed amount will basically go to them,” she said.
Under the Adopt a Community Pantry Program, those who want to extend monetary funds could choose how long they want to support a community pantry and how much they could give.
Patricia, for her part, urged well-off communities to help the poor by supporting the movement to become sustainable.
“Ang idea naman po ng community pantry mag-serve din labas sa communities natin and kailangan i-tap natin ‘yung mga communities na medyo komportable para sila po ‘yung mag-step up para tulungan ‘yung communities na nangangailangan,” Patricia noted.
(The idea of a community pantry is to serve outside our communities and we need to tap comfortable communities to step up and assist communities needing help.)
Individuals who want to support the Community Pantry PH’s Adopt a Community Pantry Program may visit this link: https://tinyurl.com/cpphadoptapantry.
The community pantries that proliferated in different neighborhoods believe in the principle adopted by the Maginhawa Community Pantry: “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan” or “Give whatever you can, take only what you need.”
Patricia had stressed that a community pantry “is not a charity.”
“This is like a mutual aid. We’re all helping each other,” she told the Inquirer in a previous interview.
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