When another lockdown was imposed in Metro Manila in April 2021, going hungry topped again the list of worries among many poor families. People living around Maginhawa Street in Quezon City were no exception from this concern. Among them was 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non, owner of a small furniture-making shop that had to close during the pandemic.
Ms. Non, though, was lucky she was able to go on a grocery run before the lockdown. But she did not hole up in her house to wait for its lifting. Disturbed by the knowledge that many families would go hungry while the lockdown was in place, she filled a bamboo cart with canned goods and other food items she could spare and placed it along Maginhawa Street. She also added a cardboard sign that read “Magbigay ayon sa kakayanan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (Give what you can, take what you need).”
Thus was born the Maginhawa Community Pantry. People with food to spare contributed them to the pantry. Those in need of food waited in line, most of the time, for hours to get free food. Volunteers repackaged donated sacks of rice into small bags and sorted vegetables and fruits given by generous individuals. Everyday, hundreds lined up to get a kilo of rice, a tin of canned goods, a couple of packages of instant noodles, a bunch of vegetables – just enough food for their families to last them for a day or two.
This phenomenon of generosity and compassion toward one’s less fortunate neighbors inspired others across the country to organize their own community pantries. What started with a small bamboo cart turned into a “miracle,” as some of those waiting patiently in line called it, or a movement, as media called it, where many Filipinos came together to feed the hungry among them in this dire time of the pandemic.
PCPD was among those who were inspired by what Ms. Non started. It set aside ₱20,000 to buy sacks of rice and vegetables for the Maginhawa Community Pantry. PCPD's staff Gemma Chan and Sonny Bongat met with Ms. Non to turn over its donation.