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The kindness of strangers

(The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2021 - 12:00am

As we come to face the reality of the pandemic continuing for who knows how long and the prospect of the economy not bouncing back as quickly or as strongly as we all hope, what are we going to do? The reality is that government is practically at the end of its resources – in terms of funds, strategies and assistance to the masses – and, whatever the talking heads say, things will indeed get worse before they get better.

Claims to the contrary, vaccination towards herd immunity will be a long time coming. Unfortunately that means no work for a lot of people, which creates a problem about as dire as the pandemic itself – hunger.

We cannot expect government to keep giving out ayuda, so what are people to do if there’s no food on the table? Rely on the kindness of strangers.

The community pantries that have sprouted up in many areas in the metropolis and the rest of the country signal the awakening – or re-awakening – of the kindness innate in all of us, or at least most of us. When we are confronted with a pressing need, the instinct is to help – act first, ask questions later, if at all.

I believe that is what is behind the spontaneous donations of food that fill up the pantries – people just want to help. I donated some grocery items to a community pantry in my barangay because of care and concern and compassion, not because I am a communist or a communist sympathizer. Many friends are similarly motivated; we just want to help.

To ascribe ill intentions, to question the motives behind these acts is the very opposite of that kindness. Finally, some sane voices among the authorities have the decency to say: “Leave the community pantries alone.” If you can’t help them, or join them, just leave them alone. – Pappie Sta. Maria, Quezon City

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