The Best $125 Ever Spent!!!

Whenever you see a child smile, it always brings a smile to your face.

Whenever you see a child cry, it just breaks your heart.

Whenever you see a child go hungry, words will simply fail you. DSCN0236

Hunger kills more people every year than AIDs, malaria or tuberculosis combined.Β Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five ~ World Food Programme hunger statistics

I am not crusading to end world hunger nor am I starting a debate here on the economics of the distribution of food and wealth, although that would be such a lofty dream. I am simply doing my part and sharing my blessings to those who need it the most in my own backyard. In the wise words of the late Mother Theresa, “if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

It was a bright sunny day at Talisay City, Cebu when we met a hundred or so kids around lunchtime. These kids were Sunday school students of a classmate in nursing school. She helped facilitate this mini feeding project as she knows them pretty well and their church also has a lot of programs for the indigent and needy families in the area. She was looking for a sponsor for the kids, be it monetary donations or used clothing or a feeding project. When I heard about it, I jumped in at the opportunity. I believe in giving back to those in need, specially the children.

Now where does the $125 fit in? It came in the form of McDonald’s lunch packs, chicken with rice and a soft drink. Yes, McD’s in the Philippines sell chicken AND rice, among other local favorites. One hundred lunch packs were ordered for one hundred children. Now before someone criticizes me for giving away McDonald’s, considered to be the number one cause of obesity in America, let me first tell you that these kids (and their parents) can barely afford a meal at McDonald’s or any fast food joint for that matter. Obesity? Hardly! I don’t know if they can even eat three times a day. So, THIS is considered a luxurious treat for them. DSCN024710473777_10152795680938166_8481141635439613511_n They were told to wait for us at the city’s abandoned wet market. The space was big and clean and could accommodate the group safely. It was situated right above the river where most of these children lived with their families in shanties and shacks. They are called squatters, informal dwellers who do not own the land they built their houses on. Other than the fear of being evicted anytime by the real land owner or the government and face the risk of having their homes destroyed, they also live precariously beside this river that could swell and flood anytime the monsoon season begins. And it has in fact, swept away homes and lives in the past. PicMonkey Collage As bleak as their situations may be, they were waiting for us smiling and eager to interact. The older ones even helped manage this young crowd. Two lines were formed, boys and girls as they received their lunch packs. As the lines progressed, I could see more women and mothers with their children coming and running to make it to the lines, hoping they can still have a meal. But only the Sunday school kids were counted so the rest, unfortunately were turned down. I wished we had more! 10593135_10152795680368166_250905366790705775_nDSCN0259 It was a day my husband and I will never forget. He told me it was a very good idea to do this before we came back to America. Sometimes, you just tend to forget your blessings. You take them for granted. Only in situations like this are you reminded of how much you should be grateful for and only in situations like this tell you that nothing sounds so sweeter than a child’s “thank you”.

My heart ached every time I looked at them. The first few moments when we arrived, I had to fiercely hold back my tears. I thought I couldn’t go through with it. But, look at them, here. All smiles. Such innocence! DSCN0235 It may not be much, what we did. We certainly were unable to provide for everyone in the area, for that I feel sorry for the mothers and children who went home empty handed and hungry. I know that this is not the most sustainable and practical way to help out. Dole outs are never the answer but I am just one person in the sea of millions of people suffering out there. I will leave the educating and empowering to the more experienced organizations and groups.

I am advocating though for those who have the heart and the means to help to give back to society, to that struggling single working mother two doors down your apartment, to those who lost their homes in a fire/tornado/hurricane, to that elderly man who lives alone in his tiny home, to our brothers and sisters across the globe who are victims of political and religious oppression, to the children who are starving and are left as orphans. Before I start sounding like a United Nations commercial, yes, giving back does not mean giving thousands of dollars. It can be as simple as giving a warm meal to that struggling mother, used clothes for the fire victims, a helping hand to that elderly man, prayers for those across the globe. Start small, start within your own backyard. You will be amazed at how people respond to you and you will be richer in your hearts as well.

This was the best $125 ever spent!!!

26 thoughts on “The Best $125 Ever Spent!!!

  1. I think it’s great to give back, but is it sad that even for hungry children, I still hate to support McDonald’s AT ALL?! Their food is downright disgusting and supporting their business just supports the horrendous way that food is produced in the US! I don’t know if I could do it. BUT, I think it’s great that kids are fed, so maybe it’s a catch 22! And maybe their smiling faces make it worthwhile πŸ™‚

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    1. It is indeed a catch 22. But when you live in a third world developing country and are starving, you cannot be picky in the kind of food you eat. You don’t think about GMOs and gluten free diets. I am not saying I do not support nutritious food for these kids, the government has feeding programs in place providing them the carbohydrates and proteins they need. Having this simple McDonald’s meal is a treat for them, just like you and me having that extra scoop of ice-cream! Of course, it is not good to do it all the time, but we can, once in awhile make it “Christmas” for them and see their big big smiles and happy faces! πŸ™‚

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      1. I agree with that part! I know that the kids there don’t care at all what they’re eating and are happy to have it! But I hate paying into a company like McDonald’s! I wish better companies had things like that, like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s!

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  2. I totally believe in giving back. And I am happy to read your post. I think that people who don’t have anything will appreciate your 1 dollar more than people who have everything. You spend hundreds of dollars for them but they are still not going to appreciate it sometimes.
    That’s what I am trying to teach my kids from early age. Last year when we were in India we celebrated my son’s 4th birthday with unprivileged kids by taking them to a science center.Many people told me that don’t my 4 year old will be happier with the normal birthday party ? You know what he was happy just being with other kids and having fun. And I can still remember the smile on the faces of those kids.
    Keep the good work going and keep sharing.

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    1. Oh that is so admirable what you did for your son’s birthday party! I agree with teaching them young. Teach them to appreciate the simple things in life, teach them the basic human values of kindness, respect, generosity. Your son will be proud that you raised him well. Thank you for sharing your story too! πŸ™‚

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  3. This made my heart happy. Beautiful story.

    As quoted: β€œif you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

    I think people oftentimes get wrapped up in the fact they can’t help the whole world, and as a result just give up and not bother helping at all.

    Every little bit truly counts. I got involved a few years ago with a small charity providing education and food for children in a remote village in Guatemala. The woman who leads this organization was born int this village, but immigrated to Canada. She decided that she needed to give back, and although couldn’t save the whole world, committed her life to improving the living conditions in this one village. I thought this was an absolutely beautiful story, and have taken on sponsoring one child’s education and breakfast throughout the year. Receiving his letters is always so touching, and I’m happy that I could make a different in one person’s life.

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    1. This reminds me of the “starfish story”.
      http://mattc-thinks.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-starfish-thrower.html
      To that one child you sponsored, it meant the world to him. Thank you for your generosity and kindness! It truly is amazing to hear inspiring stories like this. There is just too much negativity in this world right now and we all could use a break, a simple act of kindness and happiness being shared is sometimes all that we need. πŸ™‚

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  4. from my perspective… a gift from the heart is always a gift from the heart πŸ™‚ because the heart has it’s own capacity of understanding, even the food from mcdonald’s once for a while πŸ™‚ cheers from Ireland

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  5. Great post, loved reading it πŸ™‚ I have been an aid worker for the last decade, and my peers would all nod and frown our eyebrow at this way of giving” Nahahaha, you have to involve your beneficiaries in a way or another, you have to make it sustainable, you can not just give and go…” Truth is, giving is priceless. As you so rightly expressed it, there is nothing more valuable in the whole world than the smile of a child, so whatever one can do to help, we should just do it πŸ™‚ You did great, it was like a Christmas present, and after all, this is what life is about, sparkles and smiles here and there !

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    1. Thank you! That’s why I mentioned in my post that I will leave it up to the experienced organizations to do the empowering and sustainability part. I was merely a guest passing through.. They are a part of a church ministry who has programs geared towards their spiritual and physical development. After all, if we can give Christmas presents to our loved ones, why can’t we give them any too? πŸ™‚ I would gladly do this again in a heartbeat the next time we come home.

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