Indigenous Pinoys from Sierra Madre
First Recipients

It has been a couple of months since we, the Overseas Filipinos Care Movement launched the FLIP FLOPS FOR A CAUSE PROJECT. We aim to share our blessings with our less fortunate brothers and sisters particularly in the Philippines. We’ve been collecting footwear, food, school supplies and toys to send to several Outreach Programs in the Philippines to benefit whole communities especially poor schoolchildren and their families.

Hence, it is with great pleasure this column wishes to inform you that thanks to the generosity and overwhelming support from the local (and foreign) community – Filipinos, Australians, other nationalities, that we have turned over around 60 pairs of new footwear, mostly flip flops to our very first recipients through our Philippine Coordinator. They are the Indigenous Pinoys from the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Several communities in Sitio Puray, Montalban, Rizal and in Sitio Inuman, in Quezon are being helped by a group of young volunteers who set up a Feeding Program in those areas. Many of the people there are farmers who depend on only two harvests a year. The children often had to cross several rivers before they could go to school and often, some go barefoot if they can manage at least three to four school days.

So we are happy to be involved supporting those people. This column is aware of a similar project in ABS-CBN, but said scheme gives only THONGS to schoolchildren and then moves on. Our movement intends to do more; continuous, round-the-year help to our target recipients. We still intend to provide poor schoolkids and their families in Laguna, our original recipients, with pre-loved and new footwear, school supplies and food by June 2010 and at Christmas.

We appeal to all kind hearted Filipinos, Filipino Australians and the
international community in general to support the project which is non-
denominational and non-political.

It has been launched online as membership spans around 20 countries from all over the world! Our members are Filipinos and other nationalities who believe in sharing even the smallest of their blessings to the disadvantaged. We might be far from our beloved country but our hearts still reach out to help our fellow Filipinos! Our small offerings are truly appreciated there too!

You are also welcome to join our movement as there are no membership fees. We are in Facebook, Multiply and Virtual Tourist.

We do not have a lot of face-to-face meetings, we meet online and those here in Sydney meet only for socialising, mostly at Workers Club in Blacktown. We believe in LESS TALK, MORE ACTION!

Cash donations are not encouraged. For more information, do visit our online sites mentioned.

For more info, you can also email me at marierea@tpg.com.au. Note that the previous yahoo email (kumaritess@yahoo.com) had been removed due to yahoo’s technical problems so it would not be used anymore for this purpose.

The distribution of 60 pairs of flip flops, however, was supposed to happen last 5th of March but unfortunately it had to be postponed due to the death from food poisoning of Rolando Hernandez, grandfather of two of the volunteers of the Feeding Program that our Movement (Overseas Pinoys Care) is supporting. Mr. Hernandez, together with John and Michael Hernandez plus three more relatives fell ill after eating “salay-salay” a native fish sold in the fish markets in the Philippines. The results of tests are still pending but this is the suspected cause of the poisoning.

This event even made the news in the Philippines, both reported by ABS-CBN and GMA-7.

This column would like to extend its condolences to the Hernandez family and hopes John, Michael and their relatives would recover soon!

Our project is still ongoing, with a big box of flip flops, food, school
supplies, and stuffed toys to be shipped by the 3rd of April in time for the June school opening back home. This writer is paying for the freight costs.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of donors/supporters who either have turned over or pledged their donations and are promoting our project since it was launched online. We are in FACEBOOK, MULTIPLY and VIRTUAL TOURIST.

? Philippine Sentinel Editor Dino Crescini, for allowing the paper’s postal box as drop off point for the donations. (PO Box 243 Doonside, NSW 2767 Australia)

? Wendy Bell – she’s a single Australian mum with 2 boys aged 12 and 18 who’s given brand new flip flops from her Avon products and a bag full of food – noodles, tinned goods, etc plus school supplies. Wendy you’re a treasure!

? Sari-Sari Asian Store in Stanhope Gardens – pledges of footwear and foodstuffs from generous owners Blessil and Robert.

? Virtual Tourist, an online community of more than a million members—
pledged new flip flops

? Freddie Mangahas from Canada – more donations he would hand in on his visit to Australia soon

? Gian Carlo Lerum from California, USA – footwear donations, also collecting at the hospital he’s working in LA.

? Rea Software Pty Ltd – sent the initial 60 pairs bought through the help of my brother, our Coordinator in the Philippines.

? Jo N – a veteran volunteer and supporter of many causes and projects, also my Australian neighbour, for promoting and helping with the project.

There are still a lot more supporters who wish to remain anonymous and we are grateful for all the help.

Remember, if you don’t have pre-loved flip flops, it only costs from $2-6
dollars for a new pair. We need more KIDS SIZES please! I mentioned this as several of my sons’ mates have even messaged me to apologise for not giving footwear and I tell them it’s ok, new ones are accepted, so are food and pre-loved toys, books, etc. As they say with preloved goods, another man’s trash is someone else’s treasure and our little donations go a long way for those less fortunate folks back home!

So keep your donations coming folks! You can also send to FLIP FLOPS FOR A CAUSE at 20 Tilbury Avenue, Stanhope Gardens NSW 2768 or in the Philippines: FLIP FLOPS FOR A CAUSE at 3646 Bataan St., Sta. Mesa, Metro Manila Philippines 1016.