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Community Pantry: Building hope during the Pandemic

Lao Tzu once wrote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

The lockdown due to the global pandemic seems to be a journey of a thousand (even a million) steps. To many, it seems to be a struggle with no end in sight. And then, one selfless woman courageously set up a community pantry to help her neighbors during the lockdown. Her only ask was for everyone to take only what they need, and if they are able, give whatever they can. Through the power of social media, her efforts went viral and within days, it was replicated around the country.

Our Gawad Kalinga community residents are no strangers to the spirit of caring and sharing. From the onset, the homes were built on sharing. The “kapitbahayans”(community members) spent countless hours, rain or shine, to help build each other homes. So, when the concept of community pantry arose, our GK Villages picked up the idea and started their own community pantries. The former beneficiaries are now able to pay it forward as benefactors to others who are in need.

GK Arceo, Batangas City established a community pantry in order to help their neighbors who is in need. According to the beneficiaries of this village, it really felt good to help and feed the hungry and even with the very limited resources that they had they will survive because they have each other.

Sikad/Village of Light GK Village in GK Velasco, Quezon. When asked, Edelyn Basong, one of the Kalinga leaders mentioned that just like other Filipinos, what inspired them is fellowship. They wish to make their countrymen feel the love even in a small way.

The Shaker Girls Group of GK Consuelo in Pampanga, took another route by giving out facemasks. “Our group is united in giving out facemasks to people outside of our community. It brings us so much joy to see the smiles and to hear “Thank You's” from everyone that received our small gift. It is refreshing to see people smile amidst all the challenges that we face today.”

The leaders of GK North California, Bagong Silang, Caloocan went as far as Bulacan to harvest vegetables that they can offer to the community pantry.

Community Pantries in Gk Malbog Tolosa, GK Tolosa, GK Libertad Palo, all in Leyte.

In Leyte, GK Ormoc was able to establish the Solidarity Community Pantry that went around to the various GK Communities in Leyte and Biliran. This mobile pantry was supported by GK Tampa Bay and GK Chicago. Tons of cabbages from the farmers from Ormoc supported by GK Tampa Bay, we served in The Solidarity Community Pantry brought hope to various GK and non-GK communities, with the GK youth taking the lead in organizing the distribution.

GK Leyte Mission Worker, Boboy Igot wrote, “Again, God is good and dwells in the hearts of good men and women both here in the United States and in Ormoc, Leyte. No food is wasted, Walang Iwanan is again working in our souls. To our donors, thank you for your support. God will bless you more.”

This modern day version of Bayanihan that began with one step has kept many marching to bring hope during these desperate times.

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