Making a Difference this Christmas
Consumer Line by Ching M. Alano (December 17, 2002, The Philippine Star, Health & Family section)


    So are you done with your Christmas shopping?  It seems that our Christmas list gets longer with each passing year, what with new godchildren added to it.  Are you suddenly leaving town or planning to get sick on Christmas to avoid your inaanaks (godchildren)?  Well, you can always send them a card with this note: "In lieu of a gift, I'm making a donation to (name the cause or charitable organization you're allegedly supporting) on your behalf."  We know of some PR people who do this.  But we don't know for certain if they really make the donation on our behalf because they never furnish us with a copy of the receipt.

    Frankly, you can make a difference this Christmas.  Here's one suggestion from Papemelroti:  Fill a shoebox with your gift, wrap and label (if it's for a family or a child).  Bring it to any of the   Papemelroti branches (91 Roces Ave., Ali Mall, Ayala Center, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, SM Centerpoint, SM City, SM Fairview, Robinsons Place Manila, Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall) before Christmas.  Papemelroti will make sure it gets to an appropriate member of Tahanan ng Panginoon, a non-profit Christian ministry for the urban poor (

    You can help support the environment by buying recycled, environment-friendly Christmas greeting cards and paper products like wall decor, planners, bookmarkers, sweets containers, memo holders, picture frames and, yes, even cellphone holders.

Our you can buy UNICEF cards as proceeds from their sale go a long way towards helping underprivileged children around the world.  Of course, there are other cards-for-a-cause you can support; your parish may be selling some. 

    On the other hand, what do you do with all the cards you received this Christmas?  (Of course, greeting cards are fast being replaced by e-cards though there's nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned card.)

    Well, you can make Christmas tree ornaments out of your old Christmas cards for next Christmas, or make a Christmas collage for hanging.

    There are a thousand and one ways you can make a difference not just this Christmas but the whole year through.  Here are a few suggestions from Papemelroti:

  • Report smoke belchers to Bantay Usok by texting USOK (space) plate # (space) location (space) vehicle ID and sending to 2366.

  • Help preserve our wildlife by reporting pet sellers of endangered animals to Haribon Foundation, tel. no. 920-7430.

  • Stand up and be heard.  Write to senators, congressmen and the newspapers about issues you feel strongly about (please remember to recycle paper).

  • Save on gas consumption by carpooling, using public transport, biking and walking.

  • Donate money for sick children at Philippine General Hospital (PGH).  Call 899-1000 for more info.

  • buy local think globalBuy Filipino.  Act locally but think globally.

  • Segregate garbage.  Know your three R's: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

  • Save a life by donating blood to the Philippine National Red Cross (tel. 527-8384 local 106) or National Kidney Institute (tel. 924-3601 to 19).  Or go the extra mile by being a bone marrow donor (call the Hope office at 924-0680 or e-mail for more info).

  • Use less energy by using energy-efficient appliances.   Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

  • Buy organic foods not only because they're chemical-free but also because they're produced locally and they cut down on packaging costs and pollution coming from transporting goods from afar.

  • Volunteer for an organization that makes a difference in a big way like Hands on Manila (tel. 843-7044 or 843-5231; email or pick a cause you like from

   There's somebody out there reaching out and waiting to be touched.


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