Manila Bishop urges parishes to open 'community pantries' to reach out in need

The community pantry at the San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan City. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Caloocan/CBCP)

PASIG CITY, April 20 (PIA) -- Manila Archdiocese administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo encouraged parishes in Manila to set up their own “community pantries” to reach out to those in need amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

I encourage the priests, parishes and the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) to join this initiative,” Bishop Pabillo said over Radio Veritas Monday, adding that the initiative is a very good way of spreading generosity and ‘bayanihan’ among us.

Inspired by the first community pantry in Quezon City’s Maginwaha Street, the street pantries made their way to other communities not just in Metro Manila but also in other provinces.

According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), community pantries allow people to donate for those in need who can choose what items such as food and other essential goods that they want to take home.

Bishop Pabillo also commended the initiative as it shows cooperation.

In the Diocese of Calookan, a pantry of basic goods has been opened at the San Roque Cathedral on Sunday as Bishop Pablo Virgilio David asked other parishes to do the same.

Caritas Philippines, the Church’s social action arm, said the spread of street pantries showed that kindness and compassion never stop even “at a time when poverty is most visible.”

[It] is one of the most Christian responses at a time when self-preservation, and addiction to power are very eminent,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Caritas’ national director.

With the pandemic, it is expected that the number has increased exponentially. Thus, the need for a concerted localized effort to respond to the problem,” he said.

In April last year, the church agency also set up a similar project known as “Caritas Kindness Stations” in different dioceses.

According to Fr. Tony Labiao, Caritas’ executive secretary, the initiative aimed to advocate a community-based replicable localized response that empowers community members to “take what you need, spare some for others, and give what you can.”

Until today, the Caritas Kindness Station continues to exist in more than 15 provinces across the country, which is also being tied up with the diocesan programs on food security. (PIA NCR)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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