The University of the Philippines Arboretum is a mini-rainforest situated in the heart of Mega Manila. Also called “Pook Arboretum,” the forest is home to a community of urban poor: laborers, tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers, scavengers. Most of whom lost their livelihood due to the pandemic.
To alleviate the difficult situation, residents set up a Community Pantry–a food stand where provisions are collected and distributed for free to everyone in need.
Inspired by the Maginhawa community pantry established by Patricia Non, similar food stalls spread across the nation like wildfire operating under the rule “Take what you need, give what you can.” Pook Arboretum’s community pantry was made possible through the efforts of the residents themselves, in collaboration with student organizations and with the aid of various donors.
Now, with the build-up of a large crowd creating potential risk for COVID19 spread, pantry workers must dispense immediately. Everything must go, pronto.