It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving, while not widely celebrated in the Philippines, was yesterday, and the day after Thanksgiving puts us right into the Christmas Season.
Of course, in the Philippines, we have been in the Christmas Season basically since September 1. Here, when you get to the months that end with the letters “ber” they call that the BER season, which means that it’s Christmas time!
In the States, the day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday. Christmas, though, is a lot less commercialized in the Philippines, and we really don’t have Black Friday here, thankfully. In fact, a lot, perhaps most Filipinos don’t really make it a habit to exchange gifts on Christmas. It’s more of a family get together type of holiday, and the big event for Christmas is called “Noche Buena”. Noche Buena is a big family dinner on Christmas Eve, just as the clock is striking midnight to ring in Christmas day. In addition to a big dinner, there are games and other activities to keep everybody happy. And, of course, as most Filipinos are quite religious, there is always the remembrance of the reason for the season.
Yes, for Filipinos, Noche Buena is great fun, and an event that is really looked forward to in anticipation. But, for many Filipinos, they don’t have the funds needed to have a big dinner. They can’t afford the added cost of a big chicken, or the Filipino Christmas favorite – a nice ham. No, they are lucky to just have any food to eat.
Over the years, for at least 11 Christmases now, Feyma and I, along with our kids, have tried to bring a little happiness to some of those Filipino families that otherwise would not be able to enjoy a nice Noche Buena. For 7 years of that past 11, readers of this website have also pitched in to make the help even bigger, and we have been able to help many more families than we did when it was only us pitching in.
So, each year for the past 7 years now, I have been coming to LiP readers and participants around this time of year and asking if they would be able to contribute some funds that we can use to help needy families so that they can enjoy Christmas. We always use 100% of the funds received to purchase food and other Christmas items and 100% of these goods purchased are distributed to the poor. From year to year, we do different things as our Christmas project. In past years we have:
- Gone to very remote provinces and given out the food items needed to prepare a Christmas dinner.
- Gone around Davao and given meals to street children.
- Gone to an orphanage not far from our house with a complete dinner including a roasted pig (lechon baboy) for the orphans there.
- Brought a large supply of medications to the orphanage to help keep the kids healthy throughout the year.
If you decide to give money toward this year’s LiP Christmas Drive, these are the kinds of things that you can expect your money to be used for again this year. Generally, we don’t decide for sure what our project for this year will be until it gets closer to Christmas. Part of making that decision is that we can see how much money is coming in, and that helps us decide what we can afford to do for the year.
I am always hesitant to ask for money, it is not something that I am used to doing. But, this is a good cause, and like I said, 100% of what is received is given to the poor. I try to limit such requests to one time per year, for the Christmas drive. I understand that with the big typhoon in the Visayas a few weeks ago, many people have already given money, and that also makes it hard for me to ask. But, if you can afford to give a little more, I know that those who receive from your generosity will be very grateful. Every year, when I see the faces of those who get an unexpected gift, it just makes me feel so good, and so thankful to LiP readers who have made it possible!
Each year, after the giveaway is done, I always post an article here showing what we did, with pictures of folks receiving the gifts. A lot of readers have told me over the years that they look forward to that article each year, and I can understand why.
So, what do you think? Can you spare some money to help some folks less fortunate than you or I? I feel certain that anybody reading this can help with even a small donation toward the cause! In the past, I have gotten donation ranging from $5 up to $1,000 from single donors. To me, the $5 is just as appreciated as the big donations! Hey, it all adds up and helps poor folks enjoy Christmas! So, no donation is too small.
If you can help, please do so! I will appreciate it very much, and a lot of poor folks will be thanking you as they enjoy a nice meal on Christmas Eve. The best thing is that on Christmas Eve, you can also have a special feeling inside when you realize that some family in the Philippines is a little better off because of your contribution!
If you can help again this year, please send an email to: [email protected] and you will get full instructions on how to donate.
Thank you very much for any help you can offer!