Dear friends and family,
How do you close out a year like 2020? How do we celebrate a season of "hope and joy" after enduring a global pandemic, a disastrous volcanic explosion, and back-to-back-to-back typhoons here in Manila, Philippines? Will Christmas be different this year?
Christmas isn't Christmas without celebrating hope and love and everything that the season means to our family and our faith. However, of course, the way we celebrate this year will be a "new normal" kind of Christmas. In past years, IT Tender threw a massive Christmas party gathering hundreds of urban poor children together for one unforgettable event. This would neither be permitted nor encouraged in Manila this time. But after a year of struggle, families need a little hope and a joyful respite from the trials of typhoons and sickness.
2020 has been more bitter than sweet, but this won't stop us from spreading joy in a very practical way this month.
We will safely deliver packs of groceries, hygiene supplies and gifts for urban poor families who wouldn't otherwise have them this Christmas. With your help, we hope to deliver this blessing to 200 struggling families affected by the pandemic and the typhoons in Manila. Click here to give this gift to a family (or a few families) to make this unique Christmas a joyful one (donors will receive a tax receipt).
The picture above is the display at our drop-in center at IT Tender. Our staff Gabby, intern Hanna, and a number of other Tender workers made these decorations themselves to display the hopeful resiliency and positivity of our team and of Filipino culture this season, in spite of a difficult year.
Here you can see we've already begun packing some gifts, groceries and practical hygiene kits for the families...
In other news, we want to congratulate Gabby - the head coordinator and teacher of our youth programs - for completing university with a bachelor of secondary education. This happened last year, but only recently was Gabby able to get his graduation photos.
We’re so proud of this fine young man/missionary/mentor for achieving another milestone in his journey. Gabby, you are an inspiration to many kids and youth in our communities. ...and even to us staff! Stay humble and stay hungry to continue learning, growing and trusting His plans for your life.
Congratulations are also in order to the IT Tender organization and staff for successfully passing another accreditation evaluation from the Philippine Government's "Department of Social Welfare and Development" (DSWD). By God's grace, IT Tender now has a stronger, formalized partnership with the government that will enhance the organization's impact, accountability and overall operations. Non-profit organizations understand that acquiring an accreditation with DSWD is no easy accomplishment. Government officials combed through each of our policies, client case studies, financial reports, strategic plans, and more. They even interviewed some of the youth in our programs, and we were grateful to hear such positive responses of youth sharing that they wouldn't be able to go to school and succeed without the help of IT Tender, compassionate donors, and God's guidance.
For an update on how our community was affected by the recent typhoons, click here to read John and Jam's blog "The Coffey Press". To watch a recent video of John and Jam sharing updates and stories from Manila, click here.
Thank you for all your compassionate support and prayers.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday!
Director of IT Tender