Pantry tagging

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - April 24, 2021 - 12:00am

The sprout of community pantries across the country has been amazing. It only started with one act that inspired many others to do the same. The concept is simple, you put up a number of goods for those who need it and if you feel that you have more than you need, you may also donate. There are even variations on the way it is done. Instead of goods, others give away free coffee in to-go cups. It is easy to do and fun. Sadly, it isn't for some.

When the issue of procuring permits for these community pantries, I couldn't help but wonder why it’s needed. Does the issue go beyond the intent of giving? Or there is an issue of jealousy from the local government units? It is hard to grasp, as if no effort should be poured towards it at all? In the middle of a pandemic and the repeat lockdown this should be the least of their priorities. There are a lot of other things related to fighting the virus that should be lined up as interests but they chose to dwell on that instead.

However what's worse is the red-tagging of those opening up community pantries. While they are trying to give at least the most basic aid to those who need it, they want to bring another issue across the table. Seriously though, it is still time to discuss tagged rebels and their notorious plans to ruin the already powerful government? I don't think so. It could be a diversionary tactic to remove the people's minds from their anxiety over how the government is handling the virus but it doesn't cut it.

In Cebu, some of my former colleagues are also initiating community pantries. Of course, there should be some strict social distancing and you could only get what you need. It is amazing that they get to meet a lot of people, rekindle connections and forge new ones. That is how a community is supposed to work --being there for one another.

The first person who initiated this was moved to tears upon knowing that her work has inspired many. But that good vibe of wanting to help has been spoiled by technicalities which could be read in a different way. I personally feel bad about it because I like initiatives such as that. It is finally coming to our senses that when we are let down we always have each other's backs. This is a community, a nation.

I don't know for how long the community pantries will last, maybe when resources are still available. However, maybe we can stay off the tagging and just glorify helping one another. There is too much negativity around us right now and this little act of hope just does the trick. I just wish they wouldn't rob that good feeling from us. Please don't.

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