As more community pantries pop up all over the country, more people are searching for the nearest one to either get a little help or drop off supplies that could benefit someone who needs it more. How exactly do you find a pantry in your area?
Following Ana Patricia Non's viral bamboo cart in Maginhawa Street, social media was flooded with localized efforts and civil servant Sandra Tabinas from Quezon City saw a need for information surrounding community pantries, such as location, contact details, and mapping. Saan May Community Pantry? was born.
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"The map actually started as a crowdsourcing platform to map available delivery services during last year's [enhanced community quarantine]. I thought of repurposing the web app into a crowdmapping platform for [community pantries]," Tabinas said.
Apart from helping those in need find a community pantry, she also hoped to aid three other types of people; those looking to donate, those seeking help or more supplies for their community pantry, and those who want to set up their own but want to avoid redundancy as there may be a pantry near them they can collaborate with instead.
How it works
According to Tabinas, anyone who wants to see the information and location of the community pantries may click on the pin on the map, or zoom in on the map to do so.
The site is equipped with a data capture function that allows users to plot their own community pantry on the map. They can pin their location and submit supporting information such as contact details, needed supplies, and opening hours on the map's automated form.
"If they find it difficult to pin their locations on the map, we also have a Google Form wherein they can submit these information, then our team will just input it on the map with the pinned location," Tabinas said.
Community members contribute to the wealth of information available on the site. On the backend, a team of volunteers works to make sure the site is up and running whenever someone needs it.
Mappers and geographers collaborated on the project, with Tabinas working on the map and technical aspects.
Mikko Tamura, David Garcia, and professor Ony Martinez also coordinate with other volunteers from MapBeks, Mental Health AWHEREness, UPD Geography Department, and the PH Mapping Community.
Garcia and Tabinas handle social media posts and informing more people about the map.
"We've also connected with Mr. Kevin Gepaya and the Community Pantry PH Facebook group for existing information on Community Pantries in the country," Tabinas explained.
The 31-year-old actually has a day job as an officer in charge for an ICT Management Service Division in the Department of Social Work and Development. When she's not engrossed in her full-time job, she's working on the map alongside other volunteers who also have their own thing going on.
It's been less than a week of community pantries, but Tabinas and the rest of the team are committed to improving the map in the coming days and weeks.
"We plan on training volunteers who can take over the project, or work on the project with me," she said. Details are still being finalized, but the team plans on launching online training to teach volunteers how to use the map, how to add pins on the map, and how to submit other relevant information.