Surprise in a Paper Bag

Story and photos by Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist

Thanks to generous donors to OneChild’s Christmas Gift Fund, kids living in poverty in the Philippines who normally don’t get Christmas gifts can receive the blessings of several coveted presents.

Jermelyn is the mother of Christlyn, a sponsored child in the Philippines.

The Christmas gifts that the kids receive in Hope Centers through OneChild’s Christmas Gift Fund are blessings to parents in the Philippines who could not afford to give gifts to their children due to poverty.

With fathers losing their jobs and inflation increasing the cost of basic commodities, making ends meet is a miracle for many families in poverty.

Thankfully, OneChild is there to support them and bring them joy and hope.

In 2020, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government mandated that children under 15 were not allowed to go outside of their homes. So, the parents of children at OneChild’s Kids Blessed Hope Center, with a little help from Child Champions, went Christmas shopping for their kids instead.

Jermelyn, the mother of Christlyn, 9, who is registered in OneChild’s program, woke up early to get ready for this most exciting time of the year in the Hope Center — Christmas gift shopping! She knew exactly what her daughter wanted — a new dress, a water bottle, and a new pair of slippers.

Mothers of sponsored kids got to shop for Christmas gifts for their children, thanks to the efforts of Child Champions.

Jermelyn, 38, is a single parent. She has two children, Christlyn, 9, and Jheaus, 13. They live with her brother’s family in an abandoned house they share. Their house has no toilet or bathroom, and they get water and electricity from their mother’s house next door.

“We have no choice, we could not afford to rent our own house,” says Jermelyn, who sells perfume to earn a living. She is thankful that, with the help of OneChild, she’d be able to buy Christmas gifts for her daughter.

The Shopping Experience

Wearing their face masks and face shields as safety protocols, Jermelyn and other mothers together with Child Champions went to the nearby Star Mall a few minutes before it opened. Child Champions asked them to line up as the mall only allows 10 people to shop at a time to maintain physical distance.

Jermelyn had to decide which dress to buy for daughter Christlyn.

Each mother went through every toy shelf and clothing rack to look for gifts their children wanted.

By the end of the day, all went home with gifts, tucked neatly into paper bags, for their children. The Child Champions in Blessed Kids Hope Center partnered with Star Mall to get a special discount for all their purchases.

“We are thankful to OneChild that we can do this kind of activity because some would not even have the chance to go to the mall and buy something for their child because they have no income due to the pandemic,” says Hope Center Director Lanilyn Flores.

Wishes Come True

Jermelyn went home and gave Christlyn her Christmas gifts. When Christlyn opened her gifts her eyes widened, and she almost jumped for joy to see all the items on her wish list. She got a new red dress, a water bottle, and not one but two pairs of new slippers.

“I am thankful to our Child Champions for teaching, helping, and praying for us,” says Jermelyn. She is more than grateful that she and Christlyn are part of the Hope Center. Both she and Christlyn learn about the goodness of God through Bible studies at the Hope Center.

Christlyn shows off the pretty dress her mom picked out for her as a Christmas gift.

“I am not thinking of having a lot of money anymore, but I am praying that my children will know the Lord as they grow up,” says Jermelyn.

Christlyn has no sponsor yet, but thanks to the Christmas Gift Fund, all children, sponsored or not, received something special last Christmas.

Please continue to give to OneChild’s Christmas Gift Fund to help families like Christlyn’s.






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