CAGAYAN DE ORO

Frank's Christmas Gift-giving in Malanang, Opol

THE year 2020 is a challenging year for everyone, especially for parents who either lost their job due to establishments closing or were not allowed to work because of lockdown brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. This, in turn, made earning income difficult for them. With no income to buy their primary needs, there will be no food to feed their children.

We have seen on television groups of people helping families who needed aid, such as distributing food packs to those who couldn't afford to buy their groceries or couldn't get out of their houses.

Let me introduce myself and my family. My name is Daylinda Dagondon Frank, I was born in Opol, Misamis Oriental. I have been living in Germany for 33 years and while I have lived there since the age of 27, my heart is still Filipino. I am married to a German who loves and is fascinated to see children in the park in the Philippines smiling and laughing while being photographed by him.

As someone who finds joy in every child's smile, my husband was saddened at the state of some children he saw along the streets. Children were knocking at the window of our taxi/car when we were stopped by the red traffic lights. Whenever this happened, my husband asked me to give coins to the children.

Even though it is Christmas time, parents could not buy gifts for their children because they are jobless. We also received information that parents are bartering plants/shoes for food to feed their children, which touches the heart of my husband, Siegfried, and my children Christian and Nadine.

When we ate together, I told them how lucky we are that despite the pandemic, we could still eat very good food. Then, I told them that a lot of children in the Philippines are hungry. Upon telling them about the situation in the Philippines, my heart dictates me to feed the children. Then a miracle came which is beyond my imagination, when my husband told me that we will raise money for a gift-giving project for the families and especially the children of the members of the TRIFA Chapel in Malananag, Opol, Misamis Oriental.

After my husband said to my children that we will give gifts to the children which are wrapped in Christmas gift wrappers so that the children will experience the spirit of Christmas, I was very happy and excited. The spirit of Christmas gift-giving is valued by giving happiness and joy to the deserving parents and children of Malanang. It is not the price of a gift that matters, but the spirit of sharing our blessings and making children happy and makes them smile.

With the support of my family in Opol, and the assistance of the daughter, grandson, granddaughter who built the chapel, and the president of TRIFA, we were able to give 61 families, one sack of rice (5 kilos per sack), one pack of spaghetti noodles with corned beef for their Noche Buena, and lava cake and juice for snacks per family. The 81 children received t-shirts, slippers, cookies, packs of powdered milk, and Milo.

The quarantine was the reason why we could not give the gift personally. We postponed our vacation in the Philippines next year because of the pandemic. In 2021 and the near future, we will continue to support the children and with the hope that the pandemic will be over soon, perhaps we can give them the gifts personally. The children deserved to be happy, to receive Christmas gifts from the bottom of our hearts.

We do not need to be rich to give happiness and joy to the parents and children during Christmas time.

The gift-giving day was on my birthday, December 21, and we have seen the virtual live distribution through the group messenger. It happened around 7 o'clock in the morning Germany time and 2 o'clock in the afternoon Philippine time. We woke up early in the morning not to miss the live coverage, particularly the smiling faces of the parents and children upon receiving the gifts. A surprise mananita birthday song was sung dedicated to myself and pamasko and thank you songs were sung for my family, which made our day a very memorable one. (PR)


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