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By Ms Gay Castaneda

       Mandaluyong City, the Philippines, 30 April--The St Dominic Savio Parish, Mandaluyong City launched its own version of community pantry last April 27 ( first day of Novena of St Dominic).

       A community pantry is a free service that provides food directly to the members of a community, suffering from food scarcity due to the pandemic. The supplies are pooled in by any member of the community, left in the pantry for anyone to benefit from.

       The idea behind it is that people could take as much as they need and donate whatever they can.

       This effort is spearheaded by Fr Eduardo “Duds” Hila, SDB, our parish priest. The project is a collaborative effort of the 17 mandated organizations of the parish, local government units (LGUs), and private individuals of the parish.

       A bottom-up approach is initiated by the organizers where different organizations help in the entire process from asking for donations, packing, manning the pantry, inventory, and educating the people about the value of this project.

       The local officials are present to monitor the proper health protocol and social distancing for those people who will avail themselves of free essential goods.

       This time of pandemic when hunger is most visible caused a lot of worries, fear, and hopelessness among its parishioners and the parish would like to respond by showing more compassion, more kindness, more humility.

       The Savio community pantry shows a strong message of “ God’s love in action” “Loving my neighbor” where people who have more share their blessings and those who are in need only get what they need.

       Sustainability is a great challenge for the volunteers, but they believe in the kindness and generosity of individuals and families. They encourage the residents of the six barangays to share what they have and put them in the pantry station of the parish.

       Kindness is contagious, the essence of the community pantry of sharing will ripple down to the goodness of each individual, and the bayanihan (community spirit) spirit among Filipinos will prevail. We receive a lot of support from our parish priest and from other priests of the community. We thought our food supply would run out, but there was always something coming.

       We know that S. Dominic Savio continues to guide us in this time of need.



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