K-pop stan Kristine Santos set up a community pantry in Malabon where her neighbors can get corned beef and instant noodles with a bonus—photos of her favorite band EXO. Fans like her are spreading both kindness and the Hallyu wave.
Like many other community pantries all over the country, Santos' was inspired by that small bamboo cart started by Ana Patricia Non in Maginhawa, Quezon City. Like food, K-pop is also essential during the pandemic, amused fans commented on her viral post.
"Small act of kindness lang kala namin one-day event nga lang since five lang nag-donate noong first day," said Santos, who uses the hashtag #weareoneEXO in her social media updates.
Foot traffic easily tripled on Wednesday during the reportr interview, compared to 100 when it started two days ago. Santos' community pantry will stay open for several more days as donations pour, she said.
From less than 100 people coming in to claim essential goods, foot traffic almost tripled on its third day on Wednesday, she told reportr. Donations continue to pour in, which means the community pantry would still be open in the coming days.
Jen Java, a Sandara Park fan who goes by the name Jenny on K-pop communities, told reportr she initiated a community pantry in Taytay, Rizal. Together with church friends, her pantry is stocked with vegetables, eggs, and other essentials.
Those who lined up for the open pantry were reminded to "take what you need," inspired by the originator of the Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City, she said.
Fandoms are more than just concerts and merch
"Fandoms are one of the most generous communities," Jenny said. On their idol's birthdays, fans do charity work. They are conscious not to blow their money on concert tickets and merchandise.
"Our K-pop idols give us inspiration and happiness so we want to share that also to people in need...It's a chance for fandoms to show people na hindi lang puro K-pop pinagkakagastusan namin," said Jenny.
Sandara, who first rose to fame in the Philippines in the early 2000s, does charity work in Korea and inspires her to do the same, says Jenny.
Filipino fans of BLACKPINK's Jennie Kim under the group Jennievision are planning to set up community pantries in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao by May. In January 2020, they also raised more than P16,000 to plant trees in Rizal for the K-pop icon's birthday.
Members of a BTS fan group in Cavite also launched their community pantry, urging others to take what they need and give what they can. Updates from their Twitter account mentioned how other BTS fans outside the Philippines found ways to sponsor their project.
As more parts of the world get infected with K-pop fever, it's biggest stars like BTS are inspiring social consciousness among its legions of fans. Most recently, the septet spoke out against racial hate targeting Asians in the U.S.