COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) – A group of friends here who asked not to be identified has put up a “free Iftar offering” as their version of a community pantry at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) to help poor patients confined at the hospital and their watchers and to provide food at the end of the fast in this month of Ramadhan.
The unidentified friends first put up the pantry Friday last week, and have so far conducted providing needs of poor patients and their watchers without fail since then.
On Monday, about 100 people lined up to get their share.
Shirlyn Salik, social welfare officer at CRMC, said patients and their watchers are having difficulty because of the strict protocols brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The watchers, she noted, could not easily bring food for their patients because of the restrictions.
The unidentified group, MindaNews was told, has apparently coordinated with hospital authorities so that medical staff and those of the Malasakit Center are the ones who bring the donated food to the patients.
“This is good initiative,” said Salik. “We are grateful that there are people like them,” she added, referring to the unidentified donors.
“Thank you very much for the help. This is a big help for us,” said Merlyn Plang, one of the patient watchers who joined the queue on Monday.
Other poor people have likewise benefitted from the community pantry, which usually starts at 3:30 p.m. so Muslims can make use of the food for Iftar, or when the faithful end their fasting in this holy month of Ramadhan.
There were construction workers and security guards who came to join the queue at the Malasakit Center building at CRMC.
Aside from food, the community pantry gave out hygiene items like face masks, and dignity kits like napkins for women and diapers for infants.
Similar activities are also being held by the Philippine Marines, the Sixth Infantry Division, riders’ groups in Pikit, North Cotabato and by concerned individuals in the city’s various barangays and in the province of Maguindanao. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)