By Joanne Namnama P. Dilim
The Maginhawa Community Pantry started it all.
Due to series of imposed community quarantine and lockdowns in the metro due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a resident named Patricia Non introduced the community pantry concept to aid Filipinos who are in need of the essentials, mostly food items, to survive the day.
But little did she know that her act of generosity will create this ripple effect. Now, her concept is being replicated across the country.
In La Union, however, a couple launched their interesting version of a community pantry not for people but for pets!
People behind the “pawntry’’
Meet couple Arjay and Liezl Lagman from San Fernando City, La Union who kickstarted their “community pawntry” on Tuesday, April 20.
It is the first of its kind in the province.
Owners of Samaya Pet and Poultry Supply, the couple established the free pet food pantry in front of their shop that caters to pet owners who are affected by the pandemic.
“Mula nang nababalitaan namin about sa community pantry para sa mga tao, naisip po namin na sa hirap ng buhay ng mga tao ngayon, malamang po isang maaapektuhan ay ang budget nila sa mga alaga nilang hayop kaya naisip po namin ito,” Arjay shares.
As owners of fur babies themselves, Arjay said they know how to address the needs of pets.
“Kahit ganitong bagay man lang po may maitulong din kami sa ibang fur parents hindi bilang negosyante kung hindi bilang pet lover din,” he says.
Samaya Community Pantry
Indigent pet owners can have some free dog and cat foods at the Samaya community pantry. A shampoo refilling station is also available on site.
Arjay said following the tagline of the original community pantry, a note is visible telling people to get only what they need.
“Hindi po kami nagli-limit sa mga kumukuha pero may naka-post naman na kumuha lamang sila base sa pangangailangan para mas marami ang makinabang,” Arjay imparts.
After their first day of operation, an approximate of 160 kilos of pet food was given away. He observed that each individual gets an average of one kilo of pet food plus some treats and shampoo.
To abide by the strict minimum public health protocols, fur parents are advised to wear face mask and face shield and to follow social distancing.
Arjay said to upkeep their initiative, they are accepting cash or in-kind donations of pet food.
He shared that many have already relayed to them their intent to help in their project.
“We will continue to help underprivileged pet owners as long as supplies and donations last,” he shares.
People can visit the pantry that operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Filipino Bayanihan spirit lives on
In the Philippines, the bayanihan spirit is alive. True enough, Arjay and his wife Liezl and their donors prove to be just that.
Without any doubt, it would not be surprising if more and more Pinoys can start their own community pantry in their area with an aim to feed people – and animals too!
Indeed, good values never gets old and bayanihan lives on. (JCR/AMB/JNP, PIA La Union)