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The Only Gift They’ll Receive

$7,007 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 77 people in 9 months
Created September 20, 2018
Pasay Pups
Why We Need Your Help
For most of us, Christmas is a time of joy and hope, gift giving and receiving, eating, and more eating! For 400 children in Pasay City, the Philippines, Christmas is the same as every other day – an unfathomable struggle.

These children and their families live amongst the graves in a public cemetery. There is no running water, no electricity and no sewage system. Many families eat food scavenged from the trash, known locally as “pag pag” just to survive.

We need your help to make the Christmas period a little easier for them and their families. We want to provide 800 children, including the 400 who live with their families in the cemetery, with a gift that will not only give them joy at Christmas, but help them start the coming year off right. Each pack includes toys that teach new skills, encourage outdoor activity, or help them learn; hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap, and wound disinfectant; a colorable calendar to teach them about animals; school supplies; a notebook; other essential items like umbrellas, water bottles, slippers and clothes for the children most in need, and more. A gift pack for the neediest children costs $15 CA. Please note that 100% of donations received will go directly to supplies for the packs – the program is entirely volunteer-run.

We’re hoping that with your help, we can make this a Christmas to remember for these children. Will you please make a donation now to make this project a reality?

Who We Are
For over 8 years, our volunteer community group has been caring for the dogs and cats in an impoverished, underserved community in Pasay City, the Philippines. Our work serves several villages in the city, including the community of informal settlers in the local cemetery.

We also run programs for the community’s youth. Our weekly kids program operates in a large mausoleum at the cemetery – for many of the kids who attend, it’s the only form of education they receive. The kids participate in basic lessons, participate in creative projects, and have the chance to just be kids in a positive environment.

The Impact of Your Contribution
The burden of poverty and hardships that these children and their families face every day are unimaginable. For most, ours is the only gift they will receive. Let’s give them a Christmas to remember.
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I had really great intentions that after we finished our gift distribution in Sargento Mariano cemetery on Sunday, I would film a short thank you video, post it immediately, and after finishing our animal care work, I’d find a quiet café where I could upload photos and write to thank you for contributing to our Christmas Kids’ Project. In hindsight, that’s laughable. And could have been the first one of many, many expectation vs. reality memes generated from our second gift distribution day. In actuality, although we started unloading gifts from our fleet of vans around 9:30am, we didn’t finish distributing until after it was dark. By the time I fumbled around to complete my veterinary care duties, the only thing I did when I got home was faceplant into bed.

I woke up on Sunday at 4:30am and not long after, several volunteers joined me in the insurmountable task of moving the 450 backpacks and 450 toy packs slated for the kids living in the cemetery from my packed apartment to the lobby of my building. And that’s where the trouble started. We had rented a one-ton truck as well as a van to transport the packs, but the truck was a lot bigger in my mind than in reality. Fortunately, we were able to secure two more trucks at the last minute.

Despite Manila’s normally sunny weather, we happened to pick one of the few days of the year that it literally rained non-stop. The people in this community had pre-registered for our packs, and were informed many weeks in advance of the distribution date. We want the community to trust us, and we always make it a point to do exactly as we say we’re going to do. A little rain was not going to deter us.

Turns out it was a lot of rain. The large mausoleum we planned to use had flooded. As a result, we had to use two smaller mausoleums, making distribution much slower. The obstacles didn’t stop there. Several cremations that day meant that our vans were held up entering the cemetery. Since we had required pre-registration, it meant that both parent and child needed to be present to claim the packs. If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to make people hot-tempered, I’d recommend asking them to wait in the rain.

We fielded what seemed like endless complaints from parents. We locked-down our mausoleums twice when fights broke out in the line. All of us were soaked and freezing by the end of the first 15 minutes. Our volunteers worked tirelessly – shielding babies from the rain with their bodies, assisting residents in carrying their packs home, trying to maintain order, checking names on the list, screening people trying to claim who were not residents of the cemetery, and marking fingers to prevent families from using the same child to claim a second pack. The only time any of us stopped moving that day was to squeeze the water out of the pompoms on our Santa hats.

Despite the frustrations of the day, and there were too many to list here, the bottom line is that we were still able to make sure each kid in-need got their gift pack. Despite all the complaints we heard from the parents, not a single child complained. And I’m being sincere when I say that the smiles each kid had on their face when our volunteers helped them put on their backpack made it all worthwhile.

I could have written a thank you e-mail that made it seem like the whole weekend was rainbows, lollipops and butterflies. But it just wasn’t. And when you work in a community routinely like we do, there will be days that are more difficult than others. This was just one of those days. And when I think back to that day and how frustrating it was, it doesn’t deter me from our future projects. In fact, it strengthens my resolve to help lift up this community. Because at the end of the day, I got to return home to a hot shower and a comfortable bed. None of our beneficiaries had the luxury of doing that.

On behalf of all of us at Pasay Pups, thank you so much for your contribution to our Christmas Kids’ Project. You helped us spread some smiles this Christmas, and we are so grateful for every single dollar that was donated. If you want to see more photos of all the smiles you helped create, please check out our Facebook page: Pasay Pups Philippines.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2019!

Sincerely,

Ashley and Clara
Pasay Pups
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$7,007 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 77 people in 9 months
Created September 20, 2018
Pasay Pups
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