When Taal Volcano erupted recently, families in the towns of Lemery, Cuenca, Agoncillo, and Talisay in Batangas were displaced and forced to forego many aspects in their daily lives; for the young evacuees, playing with toys was not prioritized.
Hoping to uplift the kids’ spirit, employee volunteers from The SM Store visited evacuation centers at the Canosa Academy and Rafael Lojo Memorial School in Lipa City to distribute thousands of toys donated by shoppers during the recently concluded Share the Magic of Giving, Donate a Toy campaign.
Employee volunteers also had the chance to interact with the kids and somehow lift their spirits.
“‘Yung mga toys kasi ang goal is makapagpasaya at magbigay ngiti sa mga bata, so through this sharing of toys sana kahit sa paraang ito ay nabigyan natin ng ngiti at naibsan yung takot na nararamdaman ng mga bata dito sa evacuation centers
(These toys were meant to bring smile and happiness to the kids. We hope that through sharing these with the children in evacuation centers, we could make them smile and ease their fear),” said Marichelle Junio, customer service supervisor at The SM Store Lipa and one of the employee volunteers.
As the volunteers hoped, the kids were all smiles and their eyes glowed with so much excitement upon receiving their new toys that included plush toys, toy cars, educational board games, Play Doh clays, and more.
Four-year-old Rafa Santos immediately sat down the floor, opened his new toy car and played with his little brother.
“Ngayon ko lang siya nakitang nabuhayan ulit (This is the first time since the eruption that I’ve seen him this happy),” said Elsa Santos, mother of Rafa who suffered from asthma due to the ashfall.
According to the elder Santos, the frequent earthquakes and ashfall have triggered her son’s asthma and fever which urged her to immediately vacate their house in Cuenca, Batangas with only a bag of clothes on hand.
Meanwhile, Barangay Halang Lipa City captain Fernando Rocafort expressed gratitude for the toys and how these made the kids happy.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa SM department store dahil kitang kita ko kung paano nawala yung tension ng mga bata; naging masaya sila dahil sa mga nakita at nakuha nilang mga laruan (I am thankful to SM department store for relieving the tension and bringing happiness to the children with the help of the toys they received),” said Rocafort.
Share the Magic of Giving, Donate a Toy campaign under SM Share Movement is one of the ways that the leading department store reaches out to communities in times of need.
Other toy donations collected from nearby The SM Store branches were also distributed to the children affected by Taal Volcano eruption.
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