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Manila Bulletin - 2021-05-05

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Senior who cried at a community pantry in Calamba gets help from netizens amid home eviction woes

National News

By CARLA BAUTO DENA

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna - Unlike most community pantry beneficiaries who take food from the stall with a smile, a senior citizen shed tears as she received a bag of rice and vegetables on April 25. Emma Gali, 75, is taking care of her two sick children. One suffered a stroke while another has been bedridden for two years due to an unknown ailment. “Noong pumunta siya sa pantry namin noon, mangiyak-ngiyak siya kasi nabigyan daw siya ng pag-asa na makatawid sila ng pagkain sa ilang araw (When she went to our pantry, she was on the brink of tears because getting a few days’ worth of food gave her hope),” the Calamba Bayan Community Pantry wrote on its Facebook page. When the organizers of the community pantry visited Gali to bring her more groceries a few days later, they found her packing up her things. Gali and her children were being evicted from their home as the owner needed to sell the lot. To assist Gali amid trying times, the organizers decided to help her look for a new place to live. They also posted about her situation on social media to encourage others to help. They were not disappointed. TJ Tenedero, one of the volunteers of the community pantry, told the Manila Bulletin that dozens of netizens heeded the call to help Gali. According to him, it seemed that the concept of giving what one can has extended beyond community pantries. “Nakakagulat po, kasi po may mga nagdonate ng piso, R13, R20, barya barya po. May mga nagmemessage din na pasensya na ‘yun lang nakayanan nilang tulong (It’s surprising because some donated one peso, R13, R20, and some loose change. Some even apologized for the small amount they could afford),” Tenedero said. “Meron pong COVID-19 patient na nag-donate din ng malaking amount. Sabi niya, gusto niyang makatulong kahit may pinagdadaanan siya (One coronavirus disease patient donated a huge amount because he/she wanted to help even though he/she was going through hardships).” A generous donor shouldered Gali’s apartment rent for a year while a netizen offered a wheelchair for Gali’s child with mobility problems. The Calamba Bayan Community Pantry is now trying to get support from public and private entities for Gali and her children’s check-up and medical needs. If donations are enough, it is also planning to give Gali an initial supply of groceries for a small sari-sari store.

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