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This Christmas will be different. Over the past two years I have taken on a number of unusual jobs in my Around the World in 80 jobs quest, from being a Christmas tree salesman in the USA to pouring Germany’s holiday drink – Gluhwein – in Europe’s famous Christmas markets. However, this year’s holiday season I have decided to go where it is too hot to drink Gluhwein, and trade pine trees for palm trees. This time, I can’t do it alone. I need your help.
Operation Save Santa: A Filipino Christmas Story
Ho-Ho-Ho! Christmas is rapidly approaching and Santa is on the way to deliver joy and hope for children all over the world. This year however, Santa’s mission is a bit more difficult and he needs help – your help. While the world watched in sorrow, our friends in the Philippines were dealt a devastating blow with Typhoon Yolanda/Hiayan taking away loved ones, homes, businesses, and a sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow. The world communities responded and have helped secure relief in some of the hardest hit areas of Philippines, providing medical, health, and emergency care, but the road to a full recovery is far from over. With so much taken and so much loss, every ounce of effort and care offered is felt tenfold. Filipinos are renowned for their strong spirit, generosity to everyone – even complete strangers, resilience and patience in tough times, and caring for others as if they were their own family. But sometimes, especially at Christmas time, even the strongest of spirits need a little bit of help.
Why buy gifts when so much else needs to be done?
The reconstruction of homes and the rebuilding of lives will take time and consumes much of the resources and attention of everyday life in the hard hit areas of the Philippines. But it is during our most difficult times that it is more important than ever, to maintain a sense of normalcy. Some of the simplest things, like getting a new pair of slippers (flip-flops), a teddy bear or even a some chocolates, can make a huge difference in the life of a child, especially in tough times during holidays. Every child deserves a present at Christmas, and with resources spread so thin, it is difficult for parents to provide presents for their children. Many Filipinos who live all over the world provide care to our families. And while many of them take care of our families, from young to old, their help is missing back home.
How is this Toy Drive different from others?
While it would be easier for us to simply ask for your donations, we want you to experience what it is like being a real Santa in the Philippines. From the start to the finish, we are video documenting the entire process of this fundraiser, making it as interactive as possible, so that you can see the direct impact of your help. Likewise, your donations not only help to buy children gifts, but it is also helps to stimulate the local economy. Many people forget that even after providing medical attention and rebuilding homes, businesses were also lost. Recharging local economies will provide jobs and increase the speed of the overall recovery, which is why we will source as many gifts and goods as possible locally.
Much of the attention of the relief effort has focused on Eastern Visayas, yet there are many areas of Western Visayas that need help as well. To have the most impact, we will focus our Santa Toy Fundraiser on remote areas – whether by land, sea or air – that may have otherwise not received help. The average cost to provide gifts for kids in a Filipino family is about $10. There are approximately 160 families in our first community (Tuno), so about $1600 per community.
Lastly, we are going to show why there is no better time than now to come and witness the Philippines natural beauty, rich culture and experience Filipino hospitality firsthand. Tourism is almost always one of the hardest hit areas after a natural disaster, yet that source of income is when it is needed the most.
We will be distributing gifts from December 16-25th throughout Panay Island from our base in Boracay working in partnership with the local Red Cross. Anyone who wishes to join our Santa Army is welcomed. Ho-Ho-Ho! Let’s help save Santa and make this a Merry Filipino Christmas.
To help and become a Santa in the Philippines, DONATE BY CLICKING HERE. If you can’t afford to donate, please help spread the Christmas cheer and share on your Facebook.