Previously we interviewed several CFCA projects around the world about last year’s Christmas celebrations for sponsored friends and their families.
Here are answers from three projects in the Philippines: Quezon, Antipolo and Legazpi.
How do you select the types of gifts for sponsored children?
Quezon: We choose practical things for sponsored friends to use and celebrate the Christmas occasion with family, in school and during the CFCA Christmas party.
The celebration usually features a theatrical play by sponsored friends, a musical/band presentation and a talent competition.
As we empower and sustain our local livelihood products and services, some CFCA communities started to have their food catered by the livelihood project during this celebration.
Antipolo: Because of the families’ limited income, they often spend their money on food and other high-priority items, and the need for clothing goes unmet. Our clothing gifts were selected to address what sponsored friends requested. These gifts are very meaningful to them.
They wear these gifts at CFCA Christmas parties, school, community gatherings, birthday parties and church. What is amazing is their joy to extend their gifts with their siblings. Sponsored aging friends have shared their gifts with their grandchildren.
Legazpi: Christmas is one of the favorite celebrations, not only by sponsored children but by people of all ages because it brings peace, hope, joy and love. Sponsored members and families marked the Yuletide season as the most-awaited event in their lives.
We selected our gifts based on what parents of sponsored children requested during our annual planning session with project staff members.
What gifts did you offer sponsored friends for Christmas 2010?
Quezon: We gave clothing and shoes. For sponsored elderly, blankets and towels are most common.
The project also gave products from our livelihood programs such as chocolates, peanuts, bags and curtains.
Antipolo: In 2010 the sponsored children, youth and aging shopped for their own gift.
The girls bought dresses, skirts, blouses and jeans, and the boys bought T-shirts/polo shirts and pants. Some chose a pair of shoes or slippers, underwear and more.
The celebration helps the project and sponsored friends deepen their spiritual understanding of Christmas celebration by having its physical and symbolical aspect.
Christmas is their time to enjoy, give and receive. It is the most-awaited event of the year by sponsored friends and their families.
Legazpi: We gave them a Christmas party for sponsored members, which enriched unity, bonding and camaraderie.
Sponsored friends enjoyed and participated in presentations, parlor games and the appearance of Hetty and Jollibee mascots (fast-food chains in the Philippines).
The project decided on bringing in Jollibee considering that not all families can afford to bring their children to it!
Everybody received fruits, chocolates and a Noche Buena package for their families.
Sponsored children received a stuffed toy and wristwatch for girls and basketball for boys; a sling bag for male sponsored youth and a wristwatch for female sponsored youth. Sponsored aging friends received a comforter as Christmas gift.