ARENA-7 brings Christmas joy to kids, elderly

ARENA-7 brings Christmas joy to kids, elderly

SMILES lit up when members of the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (ARENA) 7 and some government personnel recently visited over 100 sick children at a public hospital and elderly people living at a Home for the Aged facility in Cebu City, bringing with them Christmas presents to cheer the old and the young this Yuletide season.

Packed meals and goodies were each given to the 64 children confined at the pediatric ward of the government-manned Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) by the regional directors and assistant regional directors, together with other government employees.

ARENA-7 also turned over boxes of basic necessities to the VSMMC officers in charge of the pediatric department. Other donations consisted of milk and chocolate drinks, tissues, diapers, soap, and other essentials.

“Christmas is a time for sharing and giving. Let us bring joy, especially to the poor sick children and the elderly who are alone and being cared for by others. Whatever we can give, let us do so,” said DepEd 7 Director Salustiano T. Jimenez, president of the ARENA-7.

Jimenez said what appropriate day to give the bundles of joy than on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, a holiday.

“Salamat kayo. Wala jud mi mag expect ni ani. Maayo na lang naa mi’y pahalipay karong pasko,” (Thank you so much. We did not really expect this. It’s good that we have present this Christmas) said a teary-eyed Nene (not her real name), a mother from Toledo City in southwestern Cebu, whose one-year-old and nine-month baby was confined for pneumonia.

Mothers and other caretakers of the sick children who received the packed meals and goodies gushed in joy and smiled in gratitude as the government officials and personnel interacted with them.

From children-beneficiaries, the ARENA-7 then lifted the spirits of some 60 elderly who are staying at the St. Josephine Vannini Home for the Aged, Daughters of St. Cammilus, Inc. in Talamban, Cebu City.

The bundles of joy were turned over to the religious sisters who are running the facility, with few caregivers.

“The elderly who are here are either abandoned or are brought here because their families can no longer take care of them. They can no longer attend to their elderly kin due to work, or some are already based abroad,” said Sister Johanni.

Because of age, some of the residents are senile, and some are just in bed suffering from either old-age illness or with co-morbidities. But for those who are still of sound mind, were glad to interact with the ARENA-7 members.

After the charity work, the ARENA-7 held a simple luncheon gathering at the Ecotech Center in Sudlon, Lahug, to celebrate the Christmas season and exchanged gifts and sang Christmas songs, bonding as a group on a special but rare occasion due to the members’ busy schedules.

“Your support to our association means a lot,” said Jimenez as he thanked everyone who participated and for those who supported the charity mission by giving donations to the recipients.

ARENA-7 members present included DSWD-7 Dir. Shalaine Marie Lucero, DBM 7 Acting Dir. Lenin Bernales, GSIS Branch Manager Atty. Mercedes Victoria Enriquez, CSC 7 Dir. Carlos Evangelista, PIA 7 Head Fayette C. Riñen, NEDA 7 Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Dolores Molintas, DENR 7 ARD Eddie LLamedo and PIA 7 ARD Rachelle M. Nessia.

The gift-giving to the underprivileged was not the first of the association, as a few successful compassion projects have been done in the past. (pia7/fayette c. riñen)

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