November 23, 2009

An early Christmas

Like last year, and the eight years before that, our office organized the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach party for young children in the poor communities and public schools that various organizations in the Ateneo de Manila University are involved with. This year, though, we also opened the event to the children of university employees who suffered from typhoon Ketsana (known as Ondoy locally). Last Saturday, about one thousand children spent the afternoon in a large field in the university. There was a program with games and prizes, and Jollibee himself (his fastfood chain provided the kids' afternoon snack) dancing for the kids. He is probably the most famous and best-loved animal mascot in the country and up close, it's easy to understand why—he has the cutest shy smile! He's a pretty good dancer too.

Jollibee dancing during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

For those who didn't care for dancing or parlor games, there were two large inflatable slides. The college students who volunteered to help did a fantastic job of keeping the waiting lines orderly.

inflatable slides during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

Canon Philippines provided a photo booth. Pose with the Canon snowman and get a free print, a souvenir of the afternoon. Filipinos are usually shy about asking strangers anything and people probably thought this was just a display booth, so two officemates and I got things going by being the first to get our picture taken. We posed together but we each got a copy. And, no, I'm not posting that photo here. No way.

Canon photo booth during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

Instead of just our regular one goody bag, all the children went home with four bags. Our blue tote bag had biscuits and other snack foods, a rubber ball and slippers. The Ateneo High School Class of 1967 provided a knapsack full of school supplies, including a Tagalog-English pocket dictionary. And ABS-CBN, one of the largest media companies in the Philippines which was also one of the largest relief operations centers during the typhoon, provided two bags of relief goods: rice and canned goods, and clothes. The Ateneo High School and Grade School basketball teams helped us distribute all the bags, help that was much appreciated because just before distribution I thought we didn't have enough hands. The high school boys even helped the smaller ones carry all their 'loot' back to their picnic area.

distributing goody bags and relief goods during the Lights for Hope Christmas outreach

None of these would have been possible without the generosity and hard work of so many people, so indulge me as I thank others not mentioned above: all the alumni who gave donations to pay for the afternoon's expenses; Culinary Exchange for its free-flowing coffee to keep the volunteers going; Blue Christmas, the college group that organized all the kids and their facilitators; and, of course, the entire Office of University Development and Alumni Relations, especially Marijo and her team. Thank you, everyone, and may God bless you all.

22 comments:

Philip said...

i'll be home for christmas. yipeee

Jacob said...

Aw, Hilda, this is so wonderful. One thousand plus kids! Amazing. I'm sure this was a joy-filled day for everyone involved! Kudos to you and all of those who I'm sure worked very hard to put it together!

Great photos, too. But there's one missing, I think...it's, ah, of ... wait a minute, oh, yes, you!

ρομπερτ said...

...to be a child.

A wonderful start into the new week for you all.

Leif Hagen said...

What a fun and great charitable event! Our daughters would have had a blast! Now about that Canon booth photo of you, cough it up . . . . commmme on! Don't be shy ...

arabesque said...

a woncerful day it was for you indeed! ^0^
and especially for those children.

bfarr said...

Looks like fun was had by all. Great post.

Louis la Vache said...

What a fine community outreach!

Cher said...

advance Merry CHRISTmas! keep reachin' out. :)

Dina said...

Absolutely heartwarming!

And yes, popular demand demands you post your picture. :) P l e a s e ?

Olivier said...

Superbe fête, bientôt noël. Le père noël arrive à Évry dans deux jours et après c'est les fêtes de noël ;o)

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

Looks like a carnival atmosphere. The children will certainly have an eventful day.

Misalyn said...

You and your group are to be commended. God bless you for your good deeds.

Would love to see the Canon booth photo :)

Halcyon said...

Wow! Looks like the kids (and adults) had a great time. It is wonderful that there are so many generous people who give their time and money to make things a little better for others. I'm sure these kids are making memories that will last a lifetime. Bravo to everyone involved!

Cezar and Léia said...

It's so wonderful see those smiles, kids are beautiful and glad to see this important event to the kids there, a blessed day!

Ahh but I would like to see that Canon picture!
:)
Congrats!
Léia

Mo said...

Great event

Rob and Mandy said...

This is something truly wonderful

Ken Mac said...

Jesus...the reason for the season

Lois said...

What a wonderful event Hilda!

Frank said...

That was the most wonderful event for all the kids. A thousand?? That's a huge turnout. You're right, the mascot does have a cute, friendly smile.

The recovery from the typhoon will take years but events like this go a long way toward helping all of the tens of thousands effected.

Vogon Poet said...

I use a Canon, I want my photo with the snowman!

George said...

This is a wonderful event and I'm glad you were able to publicly thank some of the organizations that made it possible. A very well done to all involved.

the donG said...

the inflatable slides definitely made those kids very very happy. i hope that more events like these comes in december.