By Rose Gamier
There is something about putting a smile to a child’s face situated at a place – not their own, away from a place of comfort they used to call home. But the San Roque Parish, its Youth Ministry, Pre-Con and Confirmation students, and volunteers did just that by organizing a Pre-Thanksgiving Party to some 80 children and young people (not-so-young, included!) currently staying at the Gregorio T. Camacho (GTC) Shelter in San Roque Village last Saturday, November 17, 2018. The GTC shelter was opened to accommodate families who lost their homes from Super Typhoon Yutu.
What would have been a typical afternoon in the shelter was turned into a happy gathering, loaded with fun and excitement as everyone actively participated in the various games prepared for them. Those in attendance were also given tickets and lucky winners received prizes drawn from the raffle. Packed meals and loot bags were also given away courtesy of generous donors and sponsors.
One couple was very happy upon learning that this event was organized. They used to reside in Chalan Kanoa and recounted how difficult their experience was during the onslaught of the typhoon, and in its aftermath, where their home was destroyed and many of their belongings were damaged, forcing them to seek shelter. Unfortunately, their three children were unable to join in the activities since they were not feeling well at the time. Nevertheless, they were grateful for the visit.
One young mother was happy to see her young son enjoy the grassy grounds barefoot as he looks on with the older kids playing along.
The event, which ran from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, was a way to reach out and bring joy to the kids and their families. Many of them still unsure of where to go next once classes resume in December. Donors and volunteers, both young and old, were on hand to assist and spend time with the people most affected. Their generosity also reached the people staying at Tanapag Middle School Shelter as some food and drinks were also shared with them. In her facebook post, CCD Teacher Olive Aninon wrote:
“Thank you Lord! We had a successful party for the children at the GTC Elementary School Typhoon Shelter…thank you to all the donors especially to IT&E, Litulumars, volunteers and of course to the San Roque Parish Saipan Youth Ministry!”
Indeed, it was a success. This outreach activity was a simple way of making them feel loved and cared for as they struggle to rebuild their lives; an act of kindness which gives them hope and encouragement despite the uncertainties. And it was a two-way blessing because the people behind this were nourished by the experience as well, seeing the happy faces and hearing the joyous laughter knowing that they were able to help, is truly rewarding.