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Caloocan Cathedral sets up own ‘community pantry’

Caloocan Cathedral sets up own ‘community pantry’

A pantry of free food and basic necessities is now open at the San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan City. PHOTO FROM THE DIOCESE OF KALOOKAN

By CBCP News

April 18, 2021

Manila, Philippines

The Diocese Kalookan has set up its own community pantry” at the San Roque Cathedral where people can donate basic goods to help others in need amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David announced the initiative during Mass for the opening of the “Jubilee Door” of the cathedral on Sunday.

“I have the joy to inform you that in partnership with the Caloocan Young Leaders initiative, the San Roque Cathedral is also opening today its Community Pantry,” he said in his homily.

Community pantries have sprouted in Metro Manila and even in some provinces after the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Quezon City went viral online.

With a bamboo cart and cardboard signs, the idea is simple: it invites people to share according to their ability and take according to their need.

“This is the right cardboard sign that will forever erase the shame of the cardboards hung by killers on the thousands of people that they have killed in the past few years,” said David, a vocal critic of the government’s bloody drug war.

The bishop said the emergence of community pantries are among “the clearest and most tangible signs of hope in the midst of the hopelessness brought about by this pandemic”.

The same concept was also promoted by many diocesan social action centers at the start of the pandemic through their “Kindness Stations” in communities.

The initiative was the creative response of Caritas Philippines to the restrictions of physical distancing and the lockdown.

The opening of the cathedral’s “Holy Door” was originally scheduled on Easter Sunday, to also launch the year-long celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.

The government, however, imposed a lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby provinces amid a surge of Covid-19 infections and prohibited public religious gatherings.

The bishop said they decided to postpone the celebration until churches could be allowed even just a 10 percent maximum physical attendance.

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