Community pantries emerge

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A number of groups and individuals have set up community pantries in various areas in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, adding to the movement of sharing basic and essential goods among Filipinos around the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photographs of free food packs, vegetables, and household items displayed on sidewalks, which have been set up by kind-hearted Bacolodnons and Negrenses along with their donors, have been posted on social media since Monday.

A man avails of free food items from the community pantry of Escalante City Police Station in Negros Occidental. / Escalante CPS Photo

The pantry opened by Kim Lizares and her friends is located at the corner of 12th and Lacson Streets behind the Avenue Suites hotel, where they also accept donations.  

They launched the project to “help the poor and the less fortunate”, she said, and got “overwhelmed” by the response from those interested to donate and volunteer.

“This is our own little way to share to the community,” she added.

“Hatag sa kung ano ang makaya. Kuha sa kung ano lang ang kinahanglan” (Give what you can. Take what you only need),” their tagline said.

“You can also make one at your own barangay and anywhere you like. This doesn’t have to be the only community pantry in Bacolod,” Lizares added.

Elmundo Lopez, one of the beneficiaries, said he is thankful for the help and considered the free food and other items he received as grace from God.

Meanwhile, more community pantries have been set up around the city and the province.

In Bacolod, another one is located outside the Milk Tea Project store across the Negros Occidental High School campus on Araneta Street.

The pantry is stocked with canned goods, noodles, condiments, bath soap and toothpaste.

“Let us spread kindness and generosity for those in need,” Vesy Tony said in her post shared on the Milk Tea Project-Bacolod Facebook page.

The Sowing Legacy Movement also opened a pantry outside the Legacy Home in Barangay 27.

“Inspired by the acts and love of our fellow Filipinos,” it said on Facebook.

Another one is the Barangay 38 community pantry, which is giving out mainly vegetables such as squash, eggplant, cabbage, sayote and okra.

“Sharing is caring. Be blessed and be a blessing. Table of hope. Give what you can and get what you need,” read the posters mounted beside the pantry.

On Facebook, Christelle Villaruz said she has set up community pantries stocked with vegetables, food and personal items in front of her two beef “pares” and “tapsilogan” stores.

These are located along Circumferential Road in Barangay Taculing and in front of Concentrix on Lacson Street in Barangay Mandalagan.

She also offered a free “pares” meal to the hungry who don’t have money to buy food.

Another community pantry that offers rice, vegetables and canned goods to the poor has also been set up by the roadside on Malaspina Steet in Barangay Villamonte.

In Barangay Granada, a coffee shop and restaurant owner and her staff also opened the “Bikers Community Pantry” along the Alangilan Road.

Those put up in Negros Occidental are the Silay City Community Pantry on Gaston Boulevard Street in Barangay Mambulac and a private-sector led effort in La Castellana town.

The police stations of Toboso and Escalante City also opened their own community pantries.

In Victorias City, the  “SK Community Pantry”  located in  the SK Pavillion across the City Health Center will be open today, April 21. – NLG