GT Foundation completes 2021 Bags of Blessing; 18K families reached
GT Foundation Inc. and Metrobank Foundation Inc. kept the tradition of gift-giving alive with Bags of Blessing even amid the pandemic. Photo shows a beneficiary receiving a food package at a supermarket Manila which served as one of the distribution sites in NCR.

GT Foundation completes 2021 Bags of Blessing; 18K families reached

(The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — From its kick-off last Feb. 11 to celebrate Chinese New Year, GT Foundation Inc. (GTFI), together with Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI), successfully completed this year’s Bags of Blessing (BOB) through a series of distribution across 33 sites nationwide.

Following health and safety protocols and physical distancing measures, a total of 18,000 families exchanged their issued vouchers into goods at select supermarkets in their localities and organized distribution activities in select parishes.

These beneficiaries were carefully chosen in partnership with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines to contribute to the national goal to curb hunger and alleviate the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives.

Through these specially packaged goods, the ninth year of the program saw an increase in the number of underprivileged Filipino families assisted.

To date, BOB has assisted almost 100,000 families or approximately 500,000 individuals in 182 sites nationwide.

“I’m very happy with what I received as one of the beneficiaries. We are grateful to the sponsors. What I want to say is that I hope they will not tire of helping and bringing joy to people,” said Cecilia Suguitan, beneficiary from Manila.

Some teachers, police officers, and soldiers, in partnership with the Department of Education, Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, also received goods as a fitting tribute to recognize their efforts during the crisis.

One of the teacher beneficiaries expressed her gratitude for receiving a food package.

“Thank you very much for the blessing that you’ve given to us teachers. This is a huge help to my family especially since I’m the only one working in our household. I hope that you’ll be able to help and give Bags of Blessing to more people,” said Mary Joy de Vera.

The network of Metrobank branches from the identified sites made the distribution possible with branch managers acting as action officers, ensuring on-time claiming of goods, implementation of safety measures, and accounting of beneficiaries together with NASSA/Caritas Philippines local coordinators.

Marlon Lazaro Antolin, NASSA/Caritas Philippines coordinator, emphasized the significance of sustaining a culture of reaching out and paying-it-forward.

“I feel humbled to be part of this endeavor. I believe that its success goes beyond the last day of distribution. We should take this opportunity to engage our beneficiaries and impart with them, in our brief encounters, the values of gratefulness and giving forward. We are all gifted to give. It will not stop from receiving the Bags of Blessing but we should be part of a fruitful cycle of giving,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ellen Reyes, head of Metrobank Biñan branch, revealed what this initiative means to her as one of this year’s Bags of Blessing Metrobank action officers.

“My colleagues and I are always excited to serve and participate in this activity. This is one of the many ways for us to give to our community, a simple way of sharing our service for these worthy activities. This year, I’m grateful to be chosen as one of the Metrobank action officers who will assist in the coordination, turnover of vouchers, monitoring of BOB activities,” she said.

The sites this year were: Manila, San Juan, Caloocan, Quezon City, Parañaque, Navotas, Valenzuela, Makati, Taguig, Malabon, Pasay, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina, Pateros in NCR; Baguio City, Antipolo City, Balanga City in Bataan; San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; Batangas City; the cities of Bacoor, General Trias, and Imus in Cavite; the cities of Biñan, San Pedro, Santa Rosa in Laguna; Iloilo City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City and Davao City.

The Bags of Blessing is the brainchild of the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian.

It is inspired by the traditional exchange of ang-pao, a red packet containing cash meant to deliver best wishes, favorable fortune, and good energy. Instead of cash-giving, specially designed red bags containing P1,000 worth of food packages are distributed to indigent families.

The program received an Award of Excellence in the recent 18th Philippine Quill Awards by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines and a Silver Anvil in the 56th Anvil Awards by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

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