Iba, Hagonoy – When Ana Patricia Non’s Maginhawa Community Pantry in QC went viral on social media, many other Filipinos started community pantries all over the country, including Bulacan. A thousand other pantries bloom all over the country in a short time. Naysayers even tried to undermine their efforts by loosely red-tagging the frontrunners but never succeeded. Thank goodness!
A community pantry is where food packs and other agricultural produce donated by ordinary people are made available for families affected by strict lockdowns. People in need can find rice, vegetables, eggs, and other essential goods and take them for free. Those who can’t afford to buy their own only have to line up to get what they need. It operate on trust systems and encourage donors to give what they can, and recipients to take only as much as they need.
There are over 80 community pantries in Bulacan, but there is one that stands out. This is considered as the Largest Community Pantry in Bulacan, and possibly in the whole country. This particular community pantry in Hagonoy, Bulacan, looks like a palengke or public market. It offers vegetables, rice, eggs, and fish for its residents.
Largest Community Pantry in Bulacan
The largest community pantry in Bulacan is the Ibanians Community Pantry headed by Jhane Estrella dela Cruz in Barangay Iba, Hagonoy. The Maginhawa Community Pantry inspired this kind-hearted and pretty Kapitana (Barangay Captain). Locals are teasing her for being an Angel Locsin look-a-like. What’s more notable is that she and her family personally funded this program without using a single centavo from the government funds.
As shown in the Facebook page of Jhane Estrella dela Cruz, this community pantry was set up in front of Iba Day Care Center. It was tagged by social media users as the grandest and the largest community pantry in Bulacan. You can see an array of eggplants, cabbage, bitter gourd (ampalaya), kangkong (water spinach), string beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables piled on top of long tables.
Hundreds of eggs placed on trays and several sacks of rice, some of them repacked, were also being given for free. There were also styrofoam boxes filled with plenty of fresh fish covered in ice. As you know, Hagonoy is mainly a fishing municipality, where you can get the freshest seafood products in the province like shrimp, crabs, bangus, and more.
“Ibanians Community Pantry. Mula sa Masa, Tungo sa Masa [from the masses to the masses],” and “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan [Give what you can, take only what you need],” tarpaulins posted on the pantry’s vicinity read.
“Maraming salamat po sa siksik, liglig at umaapaw na pagpapala na naipamahagi po natin sa ating mga minamahal na Ibanians [Thank you so much for the overflowing blessings that we have shared with our beloved Ibanians],” Dela Cruz said in her Facebook post.
“Unlimited supply and sky is the limit para po sa lahat! Nawa po ay sa simpleng paraan ng ating walang sawang pagtulong ay mas marami pa ang ma inspire sa ginagawa natin na pagbabahagi para sa mga higit na nangangailangan [Unlimited supply and sky is the limit for everyone! I hope that in the simple way of tirelessly helping, many more will be inspired by the sharing to those most in need],” Dela Cruz added.
This Community Pantry challenge is the true spirit of Bayanihan and Damayan that we inherit from our ancestors that still lives in the Filipino hearts. This is something that we can be proud of as a Bulakenyo. Let’s continue to pray that these acts of goodness will spread in the entire country.
Kudos to Kapitana Jhane Estrella dela Cruz and her family for putting up this impressive community pantry in Iba, Hagonoy. Good job!