A long walk to Inigan

Published January 15, 2022, 11:00 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The SM Store donates toys, books, and school supplies to a remote village school in Rizal

INCLUSIVITY ACTIVITY The SM Store representatives bringing toys, books, and school supplies with the children of Inigan Elementary School

On a mission to bring joy to the communities, The SM Store surprised students and teachers of Inigan Elementary School with new toys, books, and school supplies.

Inigan Elementary School is one of the last mile schools in Rodriguez, Rizal, just two to three hours of travel time from Manila. From this community, one can view the Sierra Madre Mountain range and the watershed of the Wawa Dam. While the town is close to Manila, it is challenging to bring aid and supplies there, as one must trek for hours or ride a banca to get to Sitio Inigan.

A day before Christmas, SM, together with the teachers and parents, set up shop in the school to bring holiday cheer to the kids of Inigan Elementary School. Children and their parents enthusiastically waited for their turns to “shop for free” or pick among the action figures, board games, and educational toys from Hasbro’s Share A Gift campaign.

Last year, Hasbro launched Share A Gift in partnership with The SM Store and Toy Kingdom. From July 30 to Sept. 30, a portion of sales from selected Hasbro merchandise purchased from The SM Store and Toy Kingdom went to the Share A Gift program to buy toys and activity materials for children ages three to 15 years old. The program gathered toys and activity materials for 200 children from the partner communities of The SM Store and Hasbro.

AID TO JOY Children and their parents shopped for toys for free courtesy of Hasbro and Toy Kingdom

Before entering the classroom filled with toys and school supplies, children and their parents were guided to check their temperature and sanitize their hands using thermometers and automatic alcohol dispensers to observe safety protocols. The children received backpacks and school supply kits, which contained writing pads, rulers, notebooks, and writing materials. Books from The SM Store’s Donate A Book program were also given to rebuild the school’s library destroyed by typhoon Ulysses in 2020.

While the town is close to Manila, it is challenging to bring aid and supplies there, as one must trek for hours or ride a banca to get there.

“Masaya po na nakatanggap kami ng school supplies para makatulong sa pag-aaral namin at sa pagsagot sa modules.(I am happy that we received school supplies that would aid us in our studies),” says says Kairee, a fifth grader who hopes to be a flight attendant someday.

SPREADING HAPPINESS Children of Sitio Inigan play with the board games, action figures, and clays donated by Hasbro

“Salamat po sa SM, makakapaglaro kami ng kapatid ko (Thank you, SM, I can now play with my sibling),” exclaimed Zayrhus Solina, one of the top first grade students.

“Malaki ang tulong na maibibigay ng initiative na ito ng The SM Store lalo na sa mga mag-aaral. Mabu-boost ang morale nila, hindi sila mawawalan ng pag-asa, at hindi sila male-left behind, kasi kung anuman ang nagagamit ng mga bata sa bayan ay magagamit rin ng mga bata dito sa kabundukan, (This initiative by The SM Store will help a lot, especially in boosting the morale of students. It will give the kids hope that they can also have what children from the city have),” said Sheilini Buenaflor, teacher-in-charge at Inigan Elementary School.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community. Seeing the smiles of the children and their parents made all the effort worth it,” says Carmina Torres, a volunteer.

SHARE A GIFT Students also received backpacks with school supplies from the Stationery Department of The SM Store

Inigan Elementary School is just one of the beneficiaries of The SM Store community programs. In addition to Share A Gift with Hasbro, The department store recently distributed books from its Donate A Book Program to 130 schools and communities nationwide and will soon visit more communities to distribute donations from its Share A Toy campaign. These annual programs are made possible through the generosity of customers and partners who have been taking part in The SM Store’s outreach activities by donating clothes, shoes, books, learning materials, and toys.