Several “community pantries” in the Philippines have been including copies of the Bible in the goods being distributed to those most affected by the pandemic.
“Praise the Lord for this unique community that distributes both food for the body and for the soul,” said retired Catholic bishop Arturo Bastes.
The prelate was speaking about a “community pantry” in the town of San Mateo in the outskirts of the Philippine capital that reportedly distribute copies of the Bible with food supplies.
Bishop Bastes who used to head the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate of the bishops’ conference said the “community pantry” is doing “a very commendable act of charity.”
“For ‘man does not live on bread alone but by the Word of God,’ and the Bible is the Word of God,” he said.
“This community also gives nourishment for the soul and not only for the body,” added the bishop. “The Word of God is the food for the spirit, just as bread is food for the body,” said Bishop Bastes.
Bishop Pablo David of Kalookan lauded the move, saying his diocese was also doing the same thing in partnership with the Philippine Bible Society.
Earlier, members of the Eastern Police District in the capital also included copies of the Bible in the goods the police distributed to communities.
Brig. Gen. Matthew Baccay, director of the police office, said the police “pantry” aims “to nourish the spiritual health of beneficiaries.”
“One should get nourishment not only physically but also spiritually. That is why we are giving away Bibles,” the police official was quoted by the government’s Philippine News Agency.
“Community pantries” have multiplied across the country as many people become jobless due to the extended lockdown of communities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative that started with 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non in a street in the capital has inspired various sectors including churches, the police, and other groups to start their own pantries.