POOK ARBORETUM’S 60-MINUTE COMMUNITY PANTRY

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.

Pook Arboretum residents appear on the roadside following news of community pantry setup.
1:18 PM. Pook Arboretum residents appear on the roadside following news of community pantry setup.
Meanwhile on the other side of the forest, organizers are on a last minute preparations.
1:19PM. Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, organizers are on a last minute preparations.
3_127 PM. Off to the battlefront.
1:27 PM. Off to the battlefront.
4_133PM_Sign of the Times. Pantry worker starts another day of battle royal versus hunger.
1:33 PM. Sign of the Times. Pantry worker starts another day of battle royal versus hunger.
5_2PM. Community pantry on a the go.
2:00 PM. Community pantry on the go.
6_205PM_More residents await in line anxiously. Pook Arboretum is home to urban poor where most were left jobless due to the pandemic.
2:05 PM Long line continues. Residents await anxiously. Pook Arboretum is home to urban poor where most were left jobless due to the pandemic.
7_213PM_Although community pantries started under the dictum of Take What You Need, here in Pook Arboretum goods are rationed due to limited supplies.
2:13 PM Although community pantries started under the dictum of Take What You Need, here in Pook Arboretum goods are rationed due to limited supplies.
Tables are turned. Community pantry nearly empty.
2:17 PM Tables are turned. Community pantry nearly empty.
9_218PM_Gone in 60 minutes. Workers packed up for another successful mission.
2:18 PM Gone in 60 minutes. Workers packed up for another successful mission.
Pook Arboretum community pantry fades into the forest.
Pook Arboretum community pantry fades into the forest.

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