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‘Tree of hope’ benefits young storm survivors

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 06:55 AM December 06, 2013

A business hotel in Cebu has set up a “tree of hope” for children in typhoon-hit Medellin town in northern Cebu.

At the 83-room Best Western Plus Lex Cebu hotel along Escario Street, a Christmas tree in the lobby is adorned with pictures of children.

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Surounding the tree are gifts with pictures of children who will receive them and handwritten dedications.

“Initially, we identified 50 children from Medellin when we visited the area a week after supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) to distribute relief goods. We took down their names and their wishes for this Christmas and put them in our Christmas tree last November 16 for our guests and staff to pick,” said the hotel’s sales and marketing manager, Janine Vienna P. Matig-a.

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There was an overwhelming response from their guests.

“Others who were in a hurry just asked us to buy the gift for the child they picked. It’s very heartwarming to see a lot of people really wanting to make a child happy this Christmas,” she said.

Hotel staff also picked their beneficiaries and bought gifts for them.

The gifts for the initial batch of 50 children will be distributed on December 21.

“We still get a lot of inquiries and requests from guests as well as our staff who also donated so we decided that we’ll be adding 25 more children,” said hotel general manager Bernard Neil U. Tanchan.

For the second batch, the hotel will choose 25 toddlers.

“We’ll prepare food for them, games and entertainment and of course their gifts. They will not just be receiving the gifts they wished for but more because some of our guests also included additional gift packs for each one of them,” Matig-a added.

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Tanchan said he hopes that the simple project would help the children in Medellin overcome the trauma of the experience of the supertyphoon which hit north Cebu last November 8.

“We know that parents will be very busy with rebuilding their homes and livelihood so we thought that we’d focus on making their children happy.”

Christmas is always seen as a day that brings hope to everyone, especially the children,” Tanchan said.

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