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SBMA community pantries lift others up

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As the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact vulnerable sectors in the Subic Bay area, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) responded by putting up local versions of the popular pandemic hunger-buster, the community pantry.

In one project organized by employees of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department, the pantry moved from place to place — first at the Rizal Gate on April 29, Kalaklan Gate on April 30, and Kalayaan Gate on May 7— to serve more needy people better.

The food items served at the LED pantry ranged from fresh vegetables to eggs, noodles and biscuits, to tinned meat. These were sourced from employee contributions, or donated by locator-companies, said LED manager Gerry Johnson.

More pantries will be set up in the future, Johnson said, as assistance from Subic stakeholders continue to pour in.

In another undertaking, the SBMA Public Relations Department partnered with JCI Olongapo and Rotary Club of Subic Pearl for the “Hapag Bayanihan” roving community pantry that targeted remote communities in the Subic Bay Area. This was after the successful launch of the project at the Subic Bay Freeport Main Gate on April 22.

PRD manager Armie Llamas said the Hapag Bayanihan caravan was born out of the “earnest pleas and requests from marginalized communities around the Freeport.”

Their first caravan on April 28 took them to the foothills of Barangay New Cabalan in Olongapo City to provide bags of foodstuffs to the Ambala Ayta tribe. The second one on May 6 brought them to the shore of Barangay Cawag in Subic’s Redondo Peninsula to deliver donated foodstuff to 130 Amianan Ayta families.

SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma said both projects exemplified the culture of malasakit among SBMA employees and stakeholders in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“In these days of the pandemic, we need to look out for each other in order to survive,” Eisma said. “We can only rise as a community when we lift others up.”

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