GT Foundation Inc. (GTFI), together with Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI), had successfully completed this year’s Bags of Blessing (BOB) across 33 sites nationwide. They had kick-started this last Chinese New Year and had its full completion last April.
There’s a total of 18,000 families who were blessed in this program as they exchanged their issued vouchers into goods at select supermarkets in their localities and organized distribution activities in selected parishes. All of these were done with great health and safety protocols and physical distancing measures.
The recipients were all carefully identified in partnership with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines. This program was aimed to contribute to the national goal to curb hunger and ease the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives.
As to date, BOB has aided almost 100,000 families or approximately 500,000 individuals in 182 sites nationwide.
“I’m very happy with what I received as one of the beneficiaries. We are grateful to the sponsors. What I want to say is that I hope they will not tire of helping and bringing joy to people,” said by one of the beneficiaries from Manila.
Some teachers, police officers, and soldiers, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, had also received goods as to recognize their efforts during this time of pandemic.
One of the teacher beneficiaries expressed her gratitude for receiving a food package. “Thank you very much for the blessing that you’ve given to us teachers. This is a huge help to my family especially since I’m the only one working in our household. I hope that you’ll be able to help and give Bags of Blessing to more people,” said Mary Joy de Vera, one of the teachers who received the goods.
The link of Metrobank branches from the identified sites made the distribution possible since their very own branch managers had acted as the action officers. They had ensured the on-time claiming of goods, implementation of safety measures, and accounting of beneficiaries together with NASSA/Caritas Philippines local coordinators.
Marlon Lazaro Antolin, NASSA/Caritas Philippines coordinator, highlighted the implication of filling a culture of helping out and paying-it-forward. “I feel humbled to be part of this endeavor. I believe that its success goes beyond the last day of distribution. We should take this opportunity to engage our beneficiaries and impart with them, in our brief encounters, the values of gratefulness and giving forward. We are all gifted to give. It will not stop from receiving the Bags of Blessing but we should be part of a fruitful cycle of giving,” he said enthusiastically as he gives his insights about this activity.
The active sites this year were the following: Manila, San Juan, Caloocan, Quezon City, Parañaque, Navotas, Valenzuela, Makati, Taguig, Malabon, Pasay, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina, Pateros in NCR; Baguio City, Antipolo City, Balanga City in Bataan; San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; Batangas City; the cities of Bacoor, General Trias, and Imus in Cavite; the cities of Biñan, San Pedro, Santa Rosa in Laguna; Iloilo City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City and Davao City.
The Bags of Blessing project is the idea of the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian. He was inspired by the Chinese tradition of giving ang-pao, a red envelope or packet that contains cash. This tradition of giving is meant to deliver best wishes, good fortune, and energy. Instead of cash-giving, specially designed red bags that contain P1,000 worth of food packages were given to needy families.
The program had received an Award of Excellence in the recent 18th Philippine Quill Awards by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines and also the Silver Anvil in the 56th Anvil Awards by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.
Photo Source: panaynews.net, rappler.com, facebook.com/GTFound, metrobank foundation