by Margarita Felipe Fajardo (JVP B15)
Inspired by Ms. Ana Patricia Non’s Maginhawa community pantry, Fr. Roberto E. N. Rivera, S. J., President of Ateneo de Naga University (ADNU), also followed the revolution of kindness spreading all over the Philippines by setting up the ADNU community pantry. Through the ADNU Center for Community Development (CCD) headed by Mr. Elmer ‘Nono’ Sto. Domingo (JVP 12/13), the ADNU community pantry opened its doors to the public on April 26, 2021. On its third day of operation ( April 28, 2021), the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP) provided food items for the community pantry and JVPs in Naga Community namely Nono, Love Dorero B21/22, Shayne Bonavente B32, Ron Elicay B10, Leah Pacao B14, Angeline Estrada-Llesol B14, Jorge Borsong B36 and Alyza Betito B35/36 volunteered to man the process.
According to Nono, initially, the ADNU community pantry would open every morning of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, after observing its operations in the past week, the CCD noted that some people would line up outside the university gates as early as 10:00 PM to be first in line when the pantry opens outside the Ateneo gates at 8:00 AM the next day. Some also tend to jump the queue resulting in petty quarrels. The ADNU CCD had to re-strategize: Yellow lines one meter apart were painted on the pavement where the people queue up to adhere to the social-distancing protocols currently in place. Each person is now given a color-coded number card to prevent cutting in line. Also, to discourage people to line up at night outside the university, the CCD now varies the schedule of pantry operations and only announces to the community its opening an hour earlier. So far, this system led to a smoother distribution of the goods laid out on a long table, in which each person takes what he needs. Usually, the goods would all been taken one hour after the pantry opens.
When asked how the community pantry helps them, a senior citizen said:
Dakula talaga pong tabang ini lalo na po sakuya na balo na, saka mayo man na trabaho. Kaya salamat po talagang maray saindo [This [community pantry] is really a big help, especially to me who’s a widow and has no job. So, I thank [the ADNU] truly for this [food pantry].
To sustain the operations of the ADNU community pantry, the CCD relies on the cash and in-kind donations of individual Nagueños, ADNU alumni batches, Filipino friends from other countries and donations from organizations such as the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines. Any donations are welcome. Anyone who wish to help could send Nono an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a message to be given instructions on how the donations could be sent. As long as there are people who donate to this cause, the ADNU community pantry, together with the JVPs, would continue to feed those who are most in need.