We live in uncharted times, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging everyone equally with no seeming end in sight. For many Filipinos, the most immediate effect has been a distinct disruption to their food security, what with either unemployment or underemployment having been one of the most common side effects of the pandemic in a socioeconomic context. In recent times, one shaft of light has beamed down on the darkness enveloping the Manila metropolitan area and warmed everyone’s hearts – and that shaft of light has been the rise of community pantries to fill the marginalized sector’s cupboards.
Taking inspiration from the food banks set- up in other countries by charitable institutions, where people can turn up and be provided a set amount of food, the first community started inauspiciously on April 14, 2021. Ana Patricia Non set- up a simple cart along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, laden with vegetables, rice, and other food items and labeled it the Maginhawa Community Pantry, along with the now famous principle, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayanan, kumuha ayon sa pangangailangan”. Word spread fast as people saw the original, and fanned by social media, multiple such pantries sprung up organically, not only in the NCR, but in other provinces, stretching as far as Zamboanga. Fueled by the generosity and empathy of fellow Filipinos, these pantries are filled with food, able to provide for the marginalized.
In the spirit of Bayanihan, the UST Faculty of Medicine is also organizing a one-day community pantry on May 29, 2021. This is part of the Sesquicentennial anniversary celebrations of FMS. With this, the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. encourages everyone to extend help and support.
In these uncertain times, AFI strives to stay true to its founding principles, to support the initiatives of FMS and encourage its alumni doctors to extend help, this time, to UST’s nearby communities.
Note: If you are interested to be part of this worthy endeavor, you may directly coordinate with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.