AS IT STANDS | Roman Floresca
Many things have happened since Ana Patricia Non thought of helping the poor by simply putting up a cart in a place where people could get food items for free. The idea is quite simple: “Take what you need. Give what you can.”
In a very short time several community pantries rose in many parts of the country. From up north down to the south there rose several community pantries. The idea caught even the imagination of people outside the Philippines. In several news items and even on social media accounts about Filipinos and how they help each other in what is called “bayanihan”. The spirit of the Filipino moved even the diplomatic community such as the German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuell who made a donation to the Maginhawa Community Pantry after being “deeply impressed” by the bayanihan spirit of Filipinos.
San Narciso, Zambales, one municipality where I spent part of my youth, was among the many towns all over the country which was stricken by the bayanihan craze.
The idea behind the community pantry was that people could take as much as they need and donate whatever they can. Not only food items were being distributed. They may include face masks, face shields, coffee, pet food, hygiene products, prepaid load, footwear, condoms and even books.
Even the government has joined the bandwagon. The Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas with various farmers’ cooperatives and associations, and private individuals and groups initiated the KADIWA Community Pantry. This modern bayanihan spirit is a remarkable phenomenon today. For DA the true heroes are the farmers as they thrive to produce good agricultural products to ensure that Filipinos will have a sufficient supply of food.
What is remarkable is that the idea has caught the eye of almost every Filipino. Even Filipinos in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, China, Japan, the Middle East and practically the whole of Europe and the rest of Asia are now busy doing questions and answering queries on bayanihan and how this trait could help Filipinos.
So let all Filipinos show to the world that we may not be rich (at least not yet) but we have the old bayanihan spirit to guide us through.