Lending another helping hand

Lending another helping hand

By Amanda Griffin-Jacob

My year is not complete without my annual Christmas charity outreach and Christmas party for the children of the community we help. This was the eleventh year that I’ve put this outreach together with my mother-in-law. It is something so very dear to my heart. The last four years have been extra special as I started bringing my children with me to help out. I want them to see that our outreach is as much a part of Christmas as any of our other traditions. This year, my eldest, Kieran, really inspired me with his tireless help in distributing 10kg bags to most of our 200 families. My middle children, Kalon and Lila, helped to give out the Jollibee meals during the Christmas party for the kids of our chosen barangay.

Every year that I put this together, I go through a bit of anxiety wondering if I’ll be able to pull it all together and get the sponsorships and donations required to make our charity successful. I always fear that my family, friends, and big-hearted acquaintances may experience donor-fatigue and be too tapped out to help. And every year, I am so deeply moved by everyone who so kindly wants to help me out.

We are a small grassroots charity that comprises of my mother-in-law, Rose Jacob, and myself. On the day of the charity, we have volunteers who help us out. That is the extent of our “organization.” This year, our goal was to raise funding for food and hygiene packages for a community of 200 families. My adjacent project is always a Christmas party for the children of the community, which I work on alone. As with every year I am indebted to a group of benevolent individuals who donate their time, money, and effort to our event and I have to thank them for helping us make Barangay Kabulusan Cupang’s 2018 Christmas celebrations sweeter this year.

I simply could not reach my fundraising target without Singaporean based website Give Asia who helped me promote our campaign and achieve our monetary objective, which is a fundamental part of each year’s successful event.

This year, a few companies donated products for the families that were essential. Stephanie and Andre Sy of Perla laundry soap generously donated 2 bars per package. Ricardo Po of Century Tuna supplied a mix of canned goods. Incy Rooms provided reusable bags to put all our items in. This was really important, as I wanted to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our outreach programs and also give the families something they can reuse again and again. With these products and the items, we were able to provide from the money we raised. The packages were complete with hygiene products, food items, and new thick fluffy towels. The smiles on their faces were a testament to the joy they felt receiving these Christmas bundles.

For my children’s party, I reached out to my suppliers who have been supporting me for a few years now. I’m so grateful that they are always willing to help in whatever way they can. Jollibee, who has supported us for 4 years, contributed 400 Chicken Joy meals for the children and their parents this year. Thank you Francis Flores, Jon Tantan, and Dennis Reyes for your continued, incredibly generous support. I am always so grateful. The kids were in heaven with their Chicken Joy and rice lunches. My entrusted party suppliers (and friends) Mich and Maan of Party Starters provided two incredible face painters for the kids, which was one of the highlights of the party. Swell Sweets donated marshmallows and cookies, which Lila and her friend Chloe handed out for dessert. It was such a joy to see these two girls who are only 3 years old cheerily interacting with all the kids. Every year, I solicit used toy donations from the expat community in Singapore, and this year Hong Kong as well. For the second year in a row, a large percentage of toys, books, and clothes came from the parents at Dulwich College. LBC was incredibly charitable and air-freighted 3 extra large boxes from Singapore and Hong Kong so that the toys could reach the children in time. Thank you so much Nena Wuthrich for allocating some LBC funds to help us out. Special thank you to Saltwater Sandals who donated new shoes for the children. And a debt of gratitude to Amari Moments who photographed our morning festivities.

I am so honored by the trust of everyone in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, and all over the world who donated to our cause this year. We could not do it without everyone’s compassionate support.

To quote Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”