The Inspiring Evolution of the OG Maginhawa Community Pantry

The little bamboo cart has grown into so much more.

community pantry
PHOTO BY L: Facebook/Patricia Non; R: Facebook/Zena Bernardo

Community Pantry

( What started as a bamboo cart filled with free food for Patricia Non's neighbors along Maginhawa Street is now a full-blown movement that has been replicated all over the Philippines and even abroad. All these go by the mantra: "Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan." This is the Maginhawa Community Pantry—and two weeks after it was started, the privately initiated project now serves as a donation and distribution hub for other community pantries in the area. You can drop off donations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their new location at 108 Maginhawa Street, Teacher's Village East Barangay Hall (Masinsinan entrance), Quezon City.


"Decentralized na po ang Maginhawa Community Pantries at magsu-supply na [rin] po kami sa 18 na karatig na barangay," Non explained in a Facebook post on April 27. On April 23, her simple bamboo cart along the street moved to the Barangay Hall location along with nine other pantries. Now, with the pantries spread out, people won't be concentrated in one area and they won't have to go far as there are more pantries near them getting a regular supply of food. Other community pantries in the Metro can also request refills when needed from Maginhawa.

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Supply comes from in-kind donations, the other half of the battlecry "Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan." Fresh produce is also purchased from local farmers, themselves badly hit by the ongoing pandemic, so the profit goes directly to them. Funds come from PayPal donations from Filipinos and OFWs.


The concept of the community pantry is nothing new to us, especially since pakikipagkapuwa (sympathy for others) is a core Filipino value. We all know about the Filipino tradition of bayanihan, where a community literally carries a whole house from one location to another. Nowadays, we can't carry a condominium unit or a two-storey apartment, but helping our neighbors is still something we practice—whether through donation drives, giving away used items on Facebook groups like Really Really Free Market Manila, or community kitchens.

If you're far from the donation hub in Maginawa, you can visit the community pantry nearest you. In-kind donations are preferred to ensure steady supply. You can also offer your time and effort and offer to repack food items or man the booth. You can also start your own community pantry in your area. Just make sure that you know how best to do it and what to do when the police visit your outpost.

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