Yes, as the title says, it’s that time of year again, holiday time. Today, US time, is Thanksgiving in the USA. It’s the day after Thanksgiving here in the Philippines, although actually Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in the Philippines, obviously. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, commemorating the arrival of the first Pilgrims in the USA, and how they gave thanks for the blessings that the Lord provided for them.
Our Martin tradition is that we celebrate American Thanksgiving even though we live in the Philippines, because we enjoy it, and we do want to give thanks for the blessings that we have in life. We, however, always celebrate on the Saturday following the American Thanksgiving day. Why? Because Thanksgiving is not a holiday here, so the kids have school on Thursday. We want to celebrate the day as a family, so we wait until Saturday when the kids are here with us.
This article is not about turkey or stuffing, though, not even about Pumpkin Pie or any of the other treats that come every Thanksgiving. The truth is, though, no matter what country you are from, no matter what God you worship (or whether you worship any God at all), we all have things to be thankful for. In fact, most of the people who read this site have so many more blessings than the average Filipino does. Just viewing the life of a poor Filipino, out in the Province somewhere can feel quite sad to a person who blessed as we all are.
Because of this, for about 9 years now, our family has had a tradition that on December 24, we give back. We spend much of the month of December preparing for our annual Christmas Giveaway. Each year we choose a different area to visit and spread a bit of Christmas Cheer to the poor people. We give food and toys to people who don’t have the means to provide a special treat for themselves. For the past 3 or 4 years now, we have also invited the LiP community to join us in spreading a bit of cheer to the poor people. To do this, we have made it possible for LiP readers to make donations to the cause through Paypal, and since we started doing this, the response from the LiP community has been overwhelming! (By the way, if Paypal does not work for you, please contact me, and I will make other arrangements so that you can donate more conveniently)
In the Philippines, the celebration that is very common is called “Noche Buena” during Christmas Eve, at Midnight. A large meal is prepared for the family to enjoy as a Christmas Celebration. Or, at least a meal as big as can be afforded for a poor family. We like to give a bit of a helping hand to those who are very poor, so that they can also enjoy Christmas.
We generally have two different types of giveaway items. Firstly, for the adults, we give a large basket of food items that can be used to prepare the Christmas meal. This giveaway includes all of the items that would be necessary for cooking the meal, including the food itself, the cooking ingredients, coffee, sugar, cooking oil and such. We have given out Chickens, Pork and other types of meats as well. Our second type of giveaway is for the children, and consists of a small bag of Christmas Candy, a few small toys and other such items that Children will enjoy, and will bring a bit of Christmas to their lives, and let them forget about their poverty for a short time.
Over the years, this project has brought a lot of joy to me personally, and I believe, given the reactions I have seen here on the site, it has brought a great deal of Christmas joy to the LiP community as well. I know for sure that it has brought comfort and joy to the hundreds of people (probably thousands, I guess) that we have been able to help over the years. There have been plenty of times when a small gift has brought tears to the eyes – both mine and theirs – over the years.
Can you help with the 2010 LiP Christmas Giveaway? If so, just use the donation button here in this post and donate what you can. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, all amounts are welcome. We have, over the years gotten plenty of donations of as little as a few dollars, and we are happy when we get any donations toward the project. We have gotten a lot of big donations too, and we are very happy for those, of course. I mean, I remember several donations of $500, or even more. So, whatever amount you can afford to share this year is appropriate. No amount is too small, because when it is all pooled together, it all adds up and helps the poor!
Help LiP bring a smile to more faces at Christmas this year! Pitch in what you can to help feed a few people during Christmas 2010. For Americans, this being Thanksgiving day, share your blessings with those who have a lot fewer blessings than we do! I will be pitching in for this! Will you join me?
For those of you who did not get to see last year’s LiP Christmas Giveaway Video, have a look now:
I would like to just note that 100% of any donations go toward buying Christmas Gifts. There are no Administrative Costs or any other deductions from the donations. All costs of doing the giveaway are paid for by us, and 100% of any donations you make will go toward making a Merry Christmas for poor people in the Philippines.