By Marron Joshua F. Mendoza and Lanzelle Cruz
Christmas is a season of giving, highlighted by gift-giving activities and other festivities that perk up the holidays. While we think about gifting ourselves and our loved ones, we should also remember that some people don’t have the same privilege we enjoy. Fortunately, we can exercise kindness and generosity to help everyone get the Christmas spirit.
Many companies in the Philippines see Christmas as the prime moment to give back to the community.
Companies do CSR in various ways. Examples include committing to sustainability and environmentally-friendly operations in supports of the principles of ethics and human rights, donating money to local causes, and investing in and funding social projects such as green energy, education programs, and charities.
Over the years, companies across the country have amped up their CSR activities to show their Christmas spirit to local communities. By helping those in need and participating in activities that can impact both society and the environment, local companies can contribute to bringing social change.
If you’re wondering how to spread love and joy this Christmas, here are some activities, particularly CSR advocacies from local companies, you can participate.
Donating food to underserved communities
Food is a basic necessity, an essential part of living, more so for underserved communities where they experience a scarcity of these resources.
Donating food in disadvantaged areas would be helpful, especially for those who cannot afford to buy food for their Noche Buena.
In December 2021, BDO, through its Handog Sa ‘Yo ng BDO Foundation initiative, provided food assistance such as canned goods, cup noodles, rice, and drinking water to 20,000 economically disadvantaged communities in 23 provinces across the country as a way of giving back to the community during the Christmas season. It became possible and successful with the support of parishes and diocesan social action centers with BDO and BDO Network Bank branches in the 23 provinces.
Check out local CSR initiatives that provide food to underserved communities.
Donating books and improving libraries
Reading is a necessary part of a child’s education, and creating programs that help improve literacy in children would be a great Christmas gift to kids in need.
Since 2011, the Chinatrust Philippines Commercial Bank Corp. has partnered with the National Book Store Foundation, Inc. to launch the “Better Readers. Brighter Future” reading and literacy improvement program. The program has donated books and renovated libraries in designated public elementary schools in Metro Manila and other provincial areas, where it managed to maintain a presence. In 2012, employees of the bank’s South Cluster visited Milagrosa West Elementary School and Maduya Elementary School in Carmona, Cavite, to entertain and share holiday meals with the students and donate 250 story books to each school. The “Better Readers. Brighter Future” program has helped 20 public elementary schools.
In December 2019, Summit Hotels and Resorts initiated its #MerryBookmas Christmas book drive, where it set off locations in its six hotels for donors to drop off books for charitable beneficiaries specified by each hotel. Some recipients include a local organization nominated by the Tagaytay City Local Government for Summit Ridge Tagaytay, SOS Children’s Villages International in Tacloban City for Summit Hotel Tacloban, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Cebu City for Summit Galleria Cebu and Summit Circle Cebu, and the Giving Hope Foundation for Summit Hotel Magnolia and Summit Hotel Greenhills.
Celebrating with people in need
There’s nothing more heartwarming than celebrating Christmas with people in need. Whether it’s children in orphanages, senior citizens in elderly homes, or residents of villages created by charitable institutions, it’s fun to spread the Christmas spirit with the underprivileged.
Apart from their efforts to donate books and renovate public school libraries, Chinatrust Philippines Commercial Bank Corp. also has its “Light Up a Child’s Christmas” program. It is an employee donation drive aimed at bringing Christmas cheer to pediatric patients of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the National Children’s Hospital, as well as orphans at CRIBS Foundation, Inc.
For their Christmas CSR project in 2019, the Philippine Life Insurance Association, Inc. visited GK Village in Sitio Maislap, Rodriguez, Rizal, giving residents and children Christmas presents in each housing unit. It also provided each household with groceries and supplies, while the kids received food packages and snacks from the company. As a token of their appreciation, children of the village gave dance numbers to the delegates of PLIA and Gawad Kalinga. The PLIA’s gesture of generosity is something that the residents of GK Village look forward to every December, as it allows them to share the joy of Christmas in a simple and meaningful manner.
In 2014, real estate company PRIME Philippines held its first CSR event celebrating Christmas with the elderly residents of God’s Grace Home Care Center. In November 2019, PRIME Philippines employees celebrated an early Christmas with children at the Children’s Joy Foundation in cooperation with U! Happy, an organization linking professional organizations with charitable institutions across Metro Manila. They spent the day having fun with the children, playing games, giving gifts, and eating food together.
Companies across the country must follow the likes of BDO, Chinatrust Philippines Commercial Bank Corp., Summit Hotels and Resorts, PLIA, and PRIME Philippines. By exhibiting their CSRs to the public, they demonstrate how they care for their consumers and the general public.
May they serve as an example of what it means to get into the holiday mood of spreading joy to their communities and ensuring that no one gets left behind in one of the most-awaited events of the year. Most importantly, may they encourage others, especially everyday citizens, that every donation is relevant.