News Release

Bringing Christmas Joy to Children, Survivors

In a land saddened by Typhoon Yolanda, Ms. Lani Misalucha and Mormon Helping Hands volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brought Christmas cheer to survivors in Ormoc and Tacloban on December 16 and 17, and in Bogo, Cebu on the 26th.  The Christmas cheer program was a mix of holiday food packs distribution and a play activity for children as a way of stress debriefing on top of the “Hope for Christmas” devotional.

8,500 Christmas meal packs containing a kilo of spaghetti , tomato sauce, meat sauce and cheese were distributed in Tacloban, Ormoc, Carigara and other affected places in coordination with Mormon Helping Hands, Charity Vision and the local DSWD.   One of the highlights of the program was the show given in Ormoc and Tacloban by Asia’s nightingale, Lani Misalucha. (Click related story)

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The Christmas meal packs distribution was initiated by Ray Goodson, one of the first missionaries assigned in the Philippines in 1961 and a former mission president during the 70s. According to Bro. Goodson, he and his wife, Debra, were already in the Philippines visiting their Filipino friends when Typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas Region. The scale of the devastation moved the Goodsons together with their friends and associates from the US to donate their resources to help survivors have a more joyful Christmas celebration.

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LDS Charities, the social arm of the Church, has done many humanitarian projects in response to Yolanda to include food kits, hygiene kits, tent kits, shelter kits, cooking kits, sleeping kits, provision of 5 KVA generators and water purification equipment to many places in Leyte, Panay, Palawan and Northern Cebu.

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Prior to the distribution of the holiday meals, play activities were conducted in Ormoc , Tacloban and Bogo, Cebu by Mormon Helping Hands volunteers.  The goal of this activity was to help relieve the mental trauma that children suffered during the storm.

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Children ages 3-12 years old were asked to draw what happened during the storm. Juliya Baculio, 10 years old, was one of the children who participated in the play activity stress debriefing program. Wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, she happily sat with 200 other children and drew an image of the flood waters engulfing the lower level of their house. When asked what she did during the storm, she draws an image of herself praying. Other children drew crosses to signify deaths that befell their families and friends. However, Juliya said  the play activity helped to ease the fear she felt during the storm because she was able to focus on happiness as she participated in the drawing sessions.

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Around 600 children participated in the play activities.  Aside from the drawing activities, parents and children were able to have fun with mascots, select a toy they like and play games with other children.


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