IN THESE PANDEMIC TIMES
…IT’S STILL ABOUT COMMUNITY PANTRIESDate: August 23, 2021Posted by: Marionette Martinez
When the Pantry Goes Mobile
by Sr. Donnalynn Marie Morta, SPC
We praise and thank God for the gift of the Community Pantry. What started with the St. Paul University Manila and Brgy. 697 in April 2021 was sustained by the Lord through generous hearts of the alumni, employees, family and friends. July came with the gift of a partnership with the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) not only to sustain the provisions in the pantry but more importantly address the care of our common home and at the same time for the further formation of the recipients of the pantry. Goods will be provided corresponding to the amount of recyclables turned in.
After orienting the people and coordinating with our partners, UP Manila Ugnayan ng Pahinungód and Brgy. 697, August came with the threat of DELTA. This new COVID–19 variant brought about massive amount of positive cases in such a short time, thus causing the declaration of another ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) here in the metro and in other parts of the country. This virus once again disrupts all plans. With this disruption, we are caught in a dilemma between avoiding gatherings and further transmission of the virus for both the organizers and the recipients, VERSUS the heightened need of the urban poor, the daily wage earners, and the unemployed for this period of the ECQ.
It was an answered prayer when Sr. Maria Evangeline Anastacio, SPC, SPU Manila President, and Sr. Maria Vicenta Estrella, Vice President for Administration and Finance Services, came up with the idea to utilize the outpouring of donations to pack cooked meals to be distributed to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. It is not as much as what they could receive in the usual pantry but this idea of having the pantry to “go mobile” is the leading of the Lord to address the immediate need of our urban poor without sacrificing the safety and protection of all.
The response of the people on August 12, 2021 was very telling of the reality of poverty around us. Setting out ready with our masks and shields, we left SPU Manila around 9:00 AM. In less than hour we had distributed 130 packs of rice, dried fish, sardines, and hard-boiled eggs. We saw familiar faces, our new found friends in the pantry. It was heart-breaking to see families living in all sorts of make shift houses. There was even a homeless man who candidly asked upon receiving the packed meal: “Meron bang tubig?” Do you have water? These people do not have access to the most basic of needs that even a simple packed meal meant everything to them.
We wish we could have given them more. We keep ourselves available during times like this. May our good Lord continue to use all of us as channels of hope and love to all those in need.