From organizing outreach programs during their idols’ birthdays to setting up disaster relief operations, giving back isn't a new concept for K-pop fandoms.
So it shouldn't be surprising that fans of various South Korean idol groups started their own community pantries to help ease the suffering caused by the pandemic.
In Malabon City, Kristine Santos, an EXO-L, organized an EXO-themed community pantry in Barangay Maysilo to both help her community and promote the K-pop group.
The 32-year old EXO-L started displaying photos of the EXO members around the pantry on April 19. Other members of the fandom in the Philippines donated to the initiative after Santos posted about it on Facebook fan groups.
Kristine did not expect that her EXO-themed pantry to go viral but said she's thankful because the pantry is now on its 7th day. In one of her tweets, Kristine happily shared that she noticed that nearby residents kept coming back to their pantry.
On April 19, ARMY Cavite Fanbase announced on Facebook that two community pantries, inspired by BTS, have opened in Manuelaville Subdivision and Windward Hills Subdivision in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
The group said in the caption, “Knowing that all of us are in a time of financial instability during this pandemic, your donation is extra special to us. Let us continue lifting each other up, and make the world a better place.”
More BTS fans – either as individuals or as groups – are opening up their own community pantries with within the NCR Plus and beyond.
Francheska, a ReveLuvs and Czennie, organized a "humble" community pantry in Lawang Bato, Valenzuela City on April 21.
Eggs, instant coffee, rice, and instant noodles are some of the essentials being offered at the Red Velvet and NCT-themed initiative.
Fellow K-pop stans SONEs (Girls’ Generation fans) and Nanazens (NCT member Na Jaemin fans) donated to the community pantry to help those affected by the pandemic, according to the fan account’s tweet.
A group of BLACKPINK fans, or also known as BLINKs, also started a community pantry in Naga City, Camarines Sur last April 23. “[We] aim to inspire other BLINKs to share their blessings to the people,” they said.
PH Dalnim is a fan base created to support Super Junior member Eunhyuk. But the group's admins soon realized that they could also join forces to support to their fellow Filipinos.
“We show our support by sending Eunhyuk food support [for his projects in Korea] but our team realized that if we can send food to someone who is rich enough to buy food, why not help those people who are in need,” said one admin of PH Dalnim.
In collaboration with PH ELFish, a fanbase for another Super Junior member Donghae, they decided to put up a community pantry in Upper Tomimobo, Iligan City last April 24. They specifically chose the place as its a relocation site for victims of Typhoon Sendong, the storm that affected Northern Mindanao and Visayas, killing more than 900 people in 2011.
“Yung lugar na pinagset-upan namin, marami pong walang trabaho at nangangailangan,” they said. (We set-up the pantry in a place wherein the residents don’t have jobs and are really in need.)
Fans of YG Entertainment boy groups SECHSKIES, WINNER and TREASURE collaborated to set-up several community pantries across Metro Manila and Cavite on April 24.
“We are beyond grateful to be an instrument to help small communities,” said one of the organizers. The four pantries are located in Paranaque, Makati, Baclaran and Bacoor, Cavite.
The admin of All About GOT7 PH said, “So [GOT7] po yung nag-link sa amin dun sa mga tao na tumulong po sa amin para magawa po namin yung donation drive and community pantry po namin. So syempre magiging under po talaga sya ng GOT7 kasi sila po ang nag motivate sa amin.”
(GOT7 linked us to the people who helped to make the donation drive and community pantry happen. So, the initiatives will be under the name of GOT7 because they motivated us.)
According to their Facebook page, they are also raising funds to help the victims of a fire in Brgy. Singcang Airport, Bacolod City.
Instead of the usual pantry composed of fresh produce and canned goods, a group of Filipino CARATs (fans of K-pop band SEVENTEEN) organized a Community Paw-ntry at Brgy. San Antonio, Parañaque last April 25 to feed stray dogs and cats in the area.
The initiative is part of a 17 Carat Community Project wherein Filipino CARATs aim to set-up 14 food pantries and 3 paw-ntries (total of 17) all over the Philippines to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of the group SEVENTEEN.
A Filipino Teume (fans of YG Entertainment boy group Treasure) also put up a community pantry in Davao City on April 26.
“We chose to put up one because Treasure inspired us, cliche as it may sound,” said organizer Asta. “[Treasure] have always encouraged us, their fans to make a difference kahit small lang (even in the little ways). They believe that through this, amid the pandemic, we can still make the world bright.”
She said she understands that not every fan has the means to start an initiative like this but she hopes that Treasure would be proud of them for this “little act of kindness.”
“Idolizing K-pop, in general, can go beyond limits,” Asta said that the project is not just a way to promote the group but a way to help and reach other people the same way that Treasure helped them.
Fans of 2NE1 and Sandara Park also started a community pantry in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan on April 26. They also started a thread on Twitter to document the initiative.
“Tatay, who was passing by, inquired if the vegetables were free. I told him to wait after we finished setting up the pantry. Even though his face was hidden behind a face mask, his eyes showed his happiness,” recounted the organizer.
"It is really overwhelming that we are able to help some people and families in a small act under Sandara Park’s name," they said.
Even as various K-pop themed community pantries across the Philippines have already been put up, even more Filipino fandoms are still planning to organize some in the coming days.
The first community pantry was set up on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City on April 14 by 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non.
The initiative follows the principle “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan (From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs)." Community members can contribute what they can and take what they need. Since then, various community pantries have emerged all over the Philippines.