Where could the concept of community pantry come from?

Village officials and city government staff assisted with community food pantry operations in Quezon City (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

Where does the concept of community pantry come from?


Zia Alonto AdiongBangsamoro Transitional Authority Member of Parliament for Lanao del Sur, shared on Twitter that the concept of bayanihan is an obligation of Muslims to their communities.

“The concept of community pantry is Islamic. We call it Zadka which means charity in English. We Muslims do not see this as a matter of personal choice, but in fact part of our obligation to the community in which we find ourselves,” Adiong wrote.

Zadka or Zakat is one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam, according to The National News, a Middle Eastern digital news publication.

There are five pillars: fasting, prayer, Hajj, Shahada and Zakat.

“Zakat is obligatory for all adult Muslims who earn a minimum amount of money each year – known as nisab,” the article read.

“Traditionally, the threshold for the nisab was 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver. Accordingly, the monetary value of the nisab varies depending on current prices and currencies,” he said. added.

A Muslim scholar named Sheikh Dr Ahmad Al Kubaisi has also been quoted as saying that Zakat is similar to taxes.

“It is not a foreign concept to modern countries. Zakat is basically like taxes but, while taxes go to the country, zakat goes to those in need,” he said.

Community kitchen

Lean activist Porquia also shared that the concept of the community pantry is similar to the community kitchen progressive groups organized in the first year of the pandemic last year.

“Hindi with #CommunityPantry. Last year meron nang #CommunityKitchen and my Tatay was killed because he hosted one in Iloilo. Sabi nga nila, you can kill an activist, but never his activism”, Porquia wrote.

Porquia is the son of militant leader Jose Reynaldo “Joy” Porquia who was shot dead in Iloilo City in May 2020.

In Australia, a community kitchen is defined as “a group of people who meet regularly to plan, cook and share healthy and affordable meals”.

“Community kitchen groups are for everyone and can be organized anywhere there is a kitchen (churches, schools, neighborhood houses, community health services, workplaces, men’s sheds, etc.),” said said an Australian community kitchen organization.

Kindness stations

Caritas Philippinesthe social branch of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, hailed those who set up community food pantries and recalled that in April 2020, it launched a similar initiative.

Its executive secretary Prof. Antonio Labiao city ​​they launched Caritas Kindness Stations which also allows the community to “take what you need, save it for others, and give what you can”.

Fifteen provinces now have their own Caritas Kindness Station.

This concept comes from a group of friends from Sorsogon City. They started with 1,500 pesos used to buy preserves, noodles, crops and half a bag of rice. Other donors have also started sharing assets, and stations have mushroomed in other areas, he added.

National Director of Caritas Philippines Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said the emergence of community pantries “is one of the most Christian responses to a time when self-preservation and reliance on power are very prominent”.

Rise of community pantries

Community pantries have sprung up in various communities in Metro Manila and some provinces after the organizer Ana Patricia No launched the initiative on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City last week.

READ: Bayanihan in action: Filipinos replicate Maginhawa community pantry to help pandemic-affected residents

These private sector-led initiatives were launched to help Filipinos badly affected by the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic amid the delay in financial assistance from the national government.

“I have not identified the root cause of the person who agrees with the pantawid-gutom ring in the others. Mahirap magtrabaho, mag-aral and lumaban habang kumakalam ang tiyan”, the 26 year old man wrote Last week.

Amid initial success, Non and other organizers recently came out online about their fears for their safety after some local police officers inquired about their personal details.

the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Quezon City Police District also shared messages that linked the initiative and its volunteers to the communist rebellion without proof.

READ: Calls to ‘protect community pantries’ grow as fears of red marking halt Maginhawa’s efforts

However, the QCPD message had since been deleted. He also apologized for the message.

Such red labeling prompted No to temporarily suspend the community food pantry in Quezon City on Tuesday

A discussion between Non and the mayor of Quezon City Joy Belmonte followed where the local mayor assured the community food pantry organizers of their full support.

Non reopened the Maginhawa community pantry to the public on Wednesday.

“Iba talaga ang lakas ng bayanihan ng pilipino pag nagtutulungan. Lahat is welcome dito, walang pinipili edad, kasarian, kapansanan, relihiyon, ethnicity, socio-economic class and politikal na paniniwala. Tuloy and natin mutual aid! Mabuhay po tayong lahat!” she said.

Norma P. Rex