Bags of joy

Charis Foundation organized a belated – yet definitely merry – Christmas party for underprivileged kids at Estansuela Elementary School in Cavite City, January 9, 2016. Located at the edge of city’s breakwater, the school was the Foundation’s recipient for its annual Make a Child Smile (MACS) program.

MACS started in 2013 as a channel to contribute in helping the victims of Typhoon Yolanda to get back on their feet. Past venues of MACS included Tolosa (Leyte), San Remigio (Cebu), Clarin (Bohol), and Mandaluyong City.

This year, the main beneficiaries of the program were the Grade 4 students of Estansuela Elementary School. The program started with separate talks for the children and their parents. The children listened to a talk on the true essence of Christmas, centering on the birth of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile the talk for the parents focused on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which had been proclaimed by Pope Francis for the year 2016. A series of fun-filled games then followed the talks.

And for lunch, of course, a Jollibee meal would not be complete without Jollibee himself. The kids lost all their meekness when Jollibee appeared. Surprised, all of them left their belongings and ran towards the red mascot, all the while screaming for excitement. The smiles from the kids’ faces were so pronounced that all the grown-ups watching them could not help but smile too.

Afterwards, a video message from the President of Charis Foundation, Mr. Chris Tiu, played on the screen. It was a heartfelt message. He apologized for a delayed Christmas celebration, thanked the Ninongs and Ninangs (donors) and the volunteers for this year’s MACS, and encouraged the kids to keep well on their studies for the future, to be obedient to their parents, and of course to pray.

At the end of the program, the kids were asked to line up for the gift-giving. Each received a school bag containing school supplies.

The closing remarks were given by the school principal, Ms. Rejet Pico. The school administration was in full support for the program from preparation till the end, and they were all so happy during the whole time. “Mas masaya pa ito sa Pasko at sa New Year ko!” the principal exclaimed.