Christmas is getting an early mention today on my blog - which is something I usually try to avoid, but in this case I'll make an exception.
This year I am excited to be partnering with the amazing team at Children's Garden in Manila to help bring Christmas to kids who usually wouldn't get one.
My part in this venture started back when we were in Manila in August, and I was chatting to the wonderful Sharon (CG director) about ways I could help. Because the kids in Manila got under my skin, bigtime.
Seeing as I do love Christmas (in theory) I asked her how it is celebrated in the Philippines and she told me that each child has a Ninang (godmother) and Ninong (godfather) who gives them gifts on Christmas. I asked, do the kids at CG have a Ninang/Ninong?
So I put the word out to some of my friends, and my connect group from Church and asked who would like to become a Ningnong for a child in Manila this Christmas. And the response was immediate and overwhelming, word spread and friends of friends were offering to sponsor a child and thanking me for the opportunity to be part of this!
Don't let the awful miserable news headlines make you feel like there is no good left in the world. THERE IS. People get excited about helping, giving and doing good. Kindness and generosity are still alive and well (just not so much in the headlines).
Such a warm and enthusiastic response warms my heart and offsets the awfulness in the world lately.
Sharon sent me photos and details for all the children they are working with at CG (mostly teenagers, mostly boys) and I matched each young person with a sponsor here in New Zealand.
Each Ninang (or Ningnong as my parents say) has purchased a small light gift for their Christmas godchild, something personal, and put it with a card and photo of themselves.
I've collected these packages (still waiting on a couple) and will be posting this box to Manila, hopefully tomorrow. It'll cost a wee bit, but I felt like it was important to send something personal, with a personal greeting from here to each child. Each sponsor has also donated a sum between $20-$30 for their child, and this money will purchase more gifts and things they need at the Manila end, by the CG team.
I think this is going to be a pretty great Christmas for some kids in Manila.
But as this scheme began to come together I started thinking about the families we met under the bridge, and wondering if we could do something for them at Christmas as well.
These are people who live on the edge of society. They have NOTHING. A motorway underpass is the only roof they have, their beds are made of dirt and sticks and rice sacks. They rummage through society's leavings looking for something to sell, hoping to make enough small change to buy a meal for the day. They are marginalised and all-but forgotten. To be able to give their children a special Christmas would be wonderful...
I asked Sharon the question - what could we do for the families under the bridge? Could I try to gather some sponsorship so we could bless them at Christmas too?
Sharon was way ahead of me.
Already well underway was a plan to bless not just the families we met under the bridge, but families in need in other parts of Manila as well. Families living rough, families living at the rubbish dump, in boxes and under bridges.
Children's Garden have a plan to bless them. They are not forgotten after all.
This is what I love about Children's Garden - they don't think just about meeting their own needs, having enough for themselves. They reach out and give to others.
The team and children of CG are holding a benefit concert to fund Christmas parties in a number of areas where there are families living rough. I would like to get behind them, by putting the word out to you, my friends and blog readers, so that together we can help them make a difference for a whole bunch of needy kids at Christmas.
You can be a part of bringing joy to kids in Manila this Christmas.You might have not been able to be a Ningnong for a CG child this Christmas, but you can contribute to their efforts to give Christmas to children who have nothing. NO-THING.
Every dollar goes a long way - $1 from New Zealand = 30 pesos. And all they need to fund one Christmas party, blessing a whole community of needy kids is $250. For everything.
Want to be part of bringing joy to kids in Manila this Christmas? You can donate right here, right now, every little bit helps.
100% of money donated will go to help the Children's Garden team give marginalised kids a Christmas to remember. We will cover the cost of Moneygram directly to their account.