As we enter the second year of the pandemic, there is another drive that is sweeping all over the country — the community pantry. In recent days, we have seen the rolling of the Bacolod Community Pantry, or pantries. These are the organized efforts of individuals or groups to spread kindness to others. It is restoring people’s faith in humanity while at the same time showing that we can do something for others if we try. It is a good way of cheering people who are experiencing depression for their lack of supplies. On the other hand, it gives fulfillment and satisfaction to the organizers and givers. In this pandemic, it is an affirmation that we can still be useful for the betterment of society.
Bacolod Community Pantry
This is not really an original concept and it’s not an organized government or NGO effort. But the fact that it’s happening all over the city with different organizers and goods. From a spectator’s POV, it makes me feel good that people are sharing what they have.
The bottom line is to share what you don’t need or your extras, so that others can get according to their needs.
I have seen friends set up community pantries outside their subdivision or within their barangays. My friend Sylvia Gerangue of Rau-Ram Cafe and Maricar Dabao have organized pantries in their communities. Meanwhile, I have also seen those who raised support but had to cancel because their barangay would not grant them permission.
Yes, you need to have coordination with the barangay officials if you want to have a community pantry. This is just another safety protocol because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Otherwise, people would be flocking to one place at one time as long as there’s free stuff.
Everybody Shares, Nobody in Need
The Believers Share Their PossessionsActs 4:32-35
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Acts 4:32-35 is one my favorite passages in the Bible. At that time, the people had a fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit and their hearts were burning with so much passion for the Lord.
While that level of openness may not happen again in our lifetime, the Bacolod Community Pantry somehow operates like this. People share their excess so that those who are in need can have something. While it is not a massive scale like in the book of Acts, this so totally revolutionary already.
Our present times are bereft with greed, with most people looking out only for their own personal interests. We see people losing their trust on the government because of widespread reports of graft and corruption. So simple acts of kindness from random people can help us see things in a different light.
Prone to Abuse
While it makes us feel good and restores our faith in humanity, the Bacolod Community Pantry can also be prone to abuse.
I remember last year when people resorted to bartering in order to fulfill their needs. There were people who also took advantage of others, especially when the community grew. Atty. Jocelle Batapa, being the moderator of the Bacolod Barter Community, set up rules and guidelines. But there are still people who get away with things.
It’s such a shame that people would abuse the goodness of others. Or take advantage of a system like this. We have seen on TV how several women in Luzon emptied a community pantry.
But what can we do? That’s human nature and that is why I said that what happened in Acts may not happen again today. Let’s just not focus on them but rather on the people or families that had a meal that day because of the community pantries.
But thank you, to the kind-hearted people who spend their time, money, and effort to make the Bacolod community pantry possible. As well as all the pantries all over the country. God bless you!
In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, here are some reminders at the Bacolod Community Pantry:
- Please maintain physical distancing in the queues.
- Always wear face masks on site. Proper use means having the nose and mouth covered. It’s the minimum protection.
- Organizers should have marshals to control the crowd.
- Disinfectant alcohol for public use should be offered.
- After getting your share, do not linger anymore to allow others to get theirs.
Safety is still a must!
Note: There are many more community pantries in Bacolod. I used the photos of Maricar Dabao and Sylvia Gerangue because of their expressed permission. Thank you!