Three years after holding their traditional annual Christmas party with the Aeta community, 120 VIDES volunteers made their way to Sitio Monicayo, Mabalacat, Pampanga last December 4, 2022 to bring the message of God’s love and the joys of the Christmas season.
The event commenced with a Holy Mass celebrated by Rev Fr. Elmer B. Salonga followed by a short program organized by the volunteers. In her welcome remarks, Sr Lyn Yap, FMA, VIDES Treasurer and Directress of the Mary Help of Christians School of Mabalacat, extended her gratitude to VIDES for choosing to hold its early Christmas celebration with the aeta community and the indigent families of Sitio Monicayo. On behalf of the volunteers, Sr Paz Bandalan, FMA, VIDES Delegate, expressed the group’s excitement to once again be with the residents of the area to share the happiness of the blessed season. She said that the volunteers came from as far as Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna for the special day.
VIDES volunteers then greeted the residents with a lively dance number which was reciprocated by the local youth with equally engaging dance presentations.
After the short program, the VIDES Perya, which showcased different interactive learning booths on children’s rights were opened. The kids enthusiastically demonstrated their talents at the Gilas Kids Booth and showed off their art skills at the Ako at ang Aking Pamilya Booth. Fun games were featured at the Laro Tayo Booth. The children also eagerly exercised their brains by solving math and word problems at the Edukasyong Pangkaunlaran Booth, learned more information on kids’ rights at the Ligtas Kabataan Booth, and posted their messages at the Ako ay Naniniwala Freedom of Expression Wall.
Both kids and adults enjoyed brandishing their poses and big smiles at the Ako ay Pilipino Photo booth. At the VIDES Salon, volunteer hair stylists offered haircutting services to the residents. Parents participated in the Gawa ni Inay Booth where they made Christmas decors using recycled items. They also listened to the informative talk on mental health at the Malusog na Kaisipan Booth which was facilitated by a VIDES volunteer who is licensed psychologist.
The half-day activity ended with the distribution of grocery items, gifts, and snacks to more than 150 families and 270 residents. The beneficiaries happily went home, grateful for the blessings and enriching experience they received. The VIDES volunteers on the other hand had their hearts filled with joy, inspiration, and passion to serve.
After the event, the volunteers gathered at the Mary Help of Christians School of Mabalacat for a fellowship lunch and a short bonding session.