Maragondon 4Ps beneficiaries start a community pantry
It all started with their 100 pesos.
When the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Brgy. Tulay Silangan in Maragondon, Cavite Province received cash assistance as among those affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR+ bubble, they contributed a hundred pesos to start a community pantry.
“Sinabi namin sa mga members ang ideya, pinaliwanag namin na mas maganda ‘yung nagbibigay kesa lagi lang kaming tumatanggap. ‘Yung mga willing magbigay, nagbigay sila ng tig-100 pesos,” shared parent leader Mildred Rapirap, 50, who organized the community pantry together with her daughter Eizel and co-parent leader Rosemarie Tañag.
Rosemarie, 46, added that in initiatives like this, they hope that the community will see them not as mere recipients of help from the government.
“Gusto naming mabago ang tingin sa amin ng mga tao. Ang mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps ay kaya ring tumulong sa iba at hindi umaasa lang at naghihintay ng tulong,” she shared.
Last May 12, they opened their community pantry with all sorts of goods from rice, eggs, canned goods, noodles, vitamins for children and fresh vegetables. All of these became possible with the PhP100 donation from 29 household-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya and other residents of their barangay.
Being recipients of government aids
Eizel, 26, shares how grateful their family is for being a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya program since 2011.
“Walo kaming magkakapatid at pagsasaka lamang ang pinagkakakitaan ng aking mga magulang. Naranasan naming pumasok nang kumakalam ang sikmura dahil sa kakulangan sa pinansyal. Naranasan ko ring mapalayo sa kanila at mamasukang katulong para makatulong sa gastusin,” shared Eizel.
The cash assistance from the program helped their family greatly, particularly on their school needs. Eizel was also given an opportunity to go back to school and finish college through the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA), a program of the Commission on Higher Education prioritizing members of Pantawid Pamilya households.
Through their hard work, the family’s financial status has improved. Mildred now owns a sari-sari store and her husband sells vegetables for a living. Eizel is also able to help with the finances as an online tutor and teacher.
“Kaya po sumasama ako kay Mama sa mga ganitong gawain [referring to the community pantry], parang pasasalamat ko na rin po sa lahat ng naitulong sa amin ng 4Ps,” shared Eizel.
Besides these grants from the program, they also feel that they are being taken cared of by the government as priority beneficiaries of various programs especially during the pandemic including the Social Amelioration Program last year and the ECQ NCR+ ayuda recently.
“Kaya ‘nung nakatanggap kami ng ayuda last week, naisip naming magbahagi rin sa aming mga kabarangay sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng community pantry,” Mildred shared.
Sharing to the community
With the contributions of the 29 Pantawid Pamilya households, they were able to collect PhP2,900 for the community pantry project.
“Hindi naman po namin pinipilit lahat ng beneficiaries dahil ‘yung iba ay mayroon pong mga pangangailangan at talagang apektado ng community quarantine. Pero alam po naming kulang na kulang yung nakolekta namin para makapagtayo ng community pantry,” said Mildred.
With their intention to push through with their project, Eizel thought of posting the idea in her Facebook account.
“Nagpost po ako na magkakaroon po ng community pantry ang mga 4Ps beneficiaries. Doon po maraming nag-pledge na tumulong. Mayroong cash ang ibinigay at mayroon ding goods,” Eizel shared.
With the donations from 15 other families and the barangay officials that they added to the fund of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, they were able to open a filled up pantry that served around 300 families.
The estimated cost of all the goods they distributed is PhP20,000 to PhP25,000.
“Siniguro rin po namin na sumunod sa health protocols para ligtas pa rin. Humingi po kami ng tulong sa barangay tanod at barangay health workers para dito,” shared Mildred.
Seeing the smiles and appreciation of those who benefitted from the community pantry, they feel proud and glad that they are able to help other people despite their own financial struggles.
“Marami pa po sa amin ang gustong tumulong kaya kapag nakalikom po ulit kami, gagawin namin ito ulit,” said Mildred proudly.[with reports from JDeocareza]***