Good Samaritan ideas for your second pandemic holiday

Published December 1, 2021, 9:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

There’s quite nothing like Christmas in the Philippines, with decorations and melodies starting as early as September, and the resilient holiday spirit that cannot be dampened by a global pandemic. Now more than ever, the Filipinos’ generosity has never shone so brightly, with a dedication to help those who are silently suffering from the pandemic’s impact.

This season of giving, ignite the Good Samaritan in you by discovering unique and innovative ways to help others while shopping for gifts for your loved ones. 

Start small (or micro)

Look up micro, small and medium-businesses (MSMEs), especially those whose products align with your values. Buying from them means helping to keep their business afloat. You can buy food from small, home-based businesses, repack them then send to frontliners—medical, security, or whoever works round-the-clock even on holidays—to bring good tidings and cheer. 

Use your platform

Start a possible online fundraising campaign for frontliners and the marginalized sectors of society, a poverty-stricken village or barangay. Encourage people to share their spare change by donating to charity by mobilizing a collection brigade. It doesn’t have to be monumental in scale or scope. The idea of giving does not mention a specific amount. It’s still the thought that counts.

#BuyLocal

Groups of friends or companies can organize a buying initiative to buy rice and other farm produce straight from farmers, one of the most marginalized sectors in the country, and make sure that they will earn this Christmas season. Those on the receiving end of these gifts will get fresh farm produce that will take care of their nutritional needs.

Leading telco firms PLDT and Smart came up with the #BuyLocal initiative under its FarmSmart campaign where local farmers are able to earn more for themselves and their families because they are provided with sure and steady markets for their produce. The program also allows those with charitable programs of their own, whether solo, with family and friends or company-led, to source out food and other farm produce for their donation programs from local farmers.

To implement its #BuyLocal program, Smart partnered with Cropital, a social agri-enterprise that helps provide smallholder farmers access to scalable and sustainable financing through loans so they can fund their next crop cycle and improve productivity. Aside from its crowdfunding platform that serves as an avenue for good-hearted investors to help improve the lives of farmers through financing while at the same time giving them the opportunity to grow their money, Cropital also has an e-commerce site where it helps sell the produce of its partner-farmers. Ordering is easy through the site and the best part is Cropital will deliver whatever produce the consumers purchased directly to their homes. 

Ordinary consumers can do their share to help in their most humble ways. For Christmas 2021, help sustain local agriculture by supporting #BuyLocal’s Christmas campaign. Buy a bag of rice for a loved one or for fellow Filipinos in need. Avail of the “Buy Local Rice Santa Bear Package” where every pack bought for P599 contributes P30 to the farmers’ sustainability fund that will help sustain their farming and their livelihood. You can also buy one bag of rice and donate one to PLDT and Smart’s supported communities for P1,198 via the “Buy One, Give One” initiative and contribute P60 to the farmers’ sustainability fund.

To order, just go to the Cropital Store (store.cropital.com) and use discount codes PLDTBUYLOCAL or SMARTBUYLOCAL, or PLDTSMARTBOGO (Buy One, Give One) to get up to P100 discount, then check out your orders and avail of free delivery within Metro Manila.

By supporting this, you will help the livelihood of rice growers in Pangasinan and Samar, and a farmer group in Nagcarlan, Laguna that supplies the cacao wine, an add-on item to the Santa Rice rice bag. You will also provide an additional income to a group of women seamstresses in Quezon City that provides the “Santa Rice” cloth packaging and to displaced workers who are hired to do door-to-door delivery.

Go ahead. Spark that inner Good Samaritan spirit during the Christmas season, a time to spread love and generosity to others through mindful and purposeful giving—and buying—so that others may know that the Christmas spirit is still very much alive, pandemic or not.

Interested groups who wish to adopt the program in their own companies or organizations can email [email protected].

 
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