Christmas is that time of the year when the word “GIVE” and “GIFT” are overused. In some places, the things one gives to others are just the person’s surplus–something one is ready to throw away and discard. It is obvious that the poor should accept whatever they are given. But poorer still, is the one who gives merely out of his surplus.

The friars of Tolo-tolo every year organizes a Christmas Gift-giving. Children around 800 to 1,000 come to receive their gifts of toys, food and clothing. For many, this may not sound special, but for these kids, Christmas has arrived since they ordinarily live on meager food and used clothing on a daily basis. What is beautiful about this event, is that, the friars become hands through which rich benefactors provide goods, food and items they wish to share for Christmas.

But the event sounded slightly like a calamity aid for the victims; that is why, on January 2, 2016, we selected the poorest of families in the area and invited them to a special Christmas dinner, an experience most of these families never had: a decent Christmas dinner, bunch of family gifts and an entertainment and parlor games that made several win appliances, kitchenwares, china and porcelains, etc.. But the most important thing is to make them feel they are worth all these in spite of their poverty. It brought tears and joys to many of them for they never thought of being able to experience being loved as a family.

The Faces of Christmas Gift-giving

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Fr. Martin Mary Fonte is a Franciscan priest of the Immaculate and serving as the current General Delegate of the Institute of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in the Philippines. He acts as the current administrator and webmaster of


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