February 3, 2023

Good for the community that Ana Patricia Non had the courage and initiative to start a community pantry along Maginhawa St., Quezon City that has inspired, as of last count, over 300 others sprouting in the country.
She filled up a bamboo cart with basic groceries and fresh produce and wrote in bold letters, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan.” People lined up and followed the edict, which summed up the quality of our people of being not greedy. It was supposed to be a give and take relationship with the “haves” helping the “have-nots” survive their meal day-to-day, springing from a generous heart.
Like a wildfire in the bush, the small gesture had a ripple effect even in Baguio where Menggay’s friend, Nicole Dipasupil-Bautista, was one of the first or the first to follow suit at her water refilling station along Magsaysay Road.
The lady racecar driver is a chef who whipped out bestsellers like Nora’s Craft Fruity Pebbles ice cream sandwich, her all-time chewy cookies, and many more goodies. Check it out online. No political statement or motives inspired them, but concern for their fellowmen hit badly by the pandemic. Helping others to just have something to eat at the family table for the day would suffice.
Their egos hurt by government’s inadequate response to the problems as a consequence of this pandemic, two nincompoop bureaucrats – the Department of the Interior and Local Government Usec. for Barangay Affairs, required permits for the organizers; and worse, the Quezon City Police District and the National Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict, red-tagged them as communists. Here are inherently good-natured people who have gone out of their comfort zones to help, yet, instead of encouraging them, they came out to lick their bruised pride with these non sequitur moves. Good that Malacañang told them to stay off the case and let them be.
Indeed, good deeds need no permits and helping people is not throwing out the government.
This has parallelism with the soup kitchens during the depression in America starting 1929. About one-fourth of the Star-Spangled Banner’s labor force were jobless. The GUR, or Governmental Unemployment Relief (local version: SAP or Social Amelioration Program), ranged from non-existent, non-responsive to inadequate (parang sounds family!) Soup kitchens, actually soup and bread, sprouted all over, run by churches or private charities or individuals.
It must be a Chinese chef who thought that soup was the most economical to give out because water could be added to serve more people.
Even Al Capone, the notorious gangster from Chicago, established his own kitchen serving three meals a day to ensure that everyone who had lost a job could get a meal. No personal motive to launder and cleanse his image then. Anywhere in the country, if one is hungry, just join the line and get it.
The end goal is clear – help to those who need it. Give and you shall receive. As written in the Bible:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?”
And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,” (Matthew 25:35-40).
We should at least learn from the lesson and message these young heroes are telling us that no one should ever live life for himself as we are responsible for our brethren.
Sigh!

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