Visayan Daily Star: Love Bags and volunteerism

Front page photo: About 270 Negrenses from all walks of lives joined the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation in packing 1,150 LoveBags in Bacolod City yesterday for less fortunate pupils in Negros, Panay, and Bukidnon.

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The Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation held its third LoveBag Packing Event at SM City Bacolod yesterday.

Volunteers from all over the city arrived to help pack the bags for less fortunate students of Negros, Panay and Bukidnon. Each bag contained school supplies for the students. In the span of two hours, the volunteers managed to pack 1,150 bags.

The NVC Foundation is non-profit organization that founded programs and initiatives to help provide nutritional, educational, livelihood, and disaster relief support to impoverished families.

The organization was started in Bacolod by private citizens who pooled their resources, skills, and time for the cause. However, in the past years, the organization has grown and has managed to reach out to, and help up to 34 provinces.

“When we started, we thought that we would only serve a small community. This is beyond our expectations,” Millie Kilayko, NVC Foundation president, said.

There was a turnout of 270 volunteers during the event. The volunteers spanned a wide range of different ages and backgrounds. Many of the volunteers came with their own organizations to help.

One of the volunteers, Joann Tubillo, 38, arrived with her organization, Federation of the Urban Poor. She said it was the organization’s third time in participating in an NVC Foundation event.

“We’re used to going to events like this; it’s a way to help other sectors of the community. It’s really fulfilling because, even though you’re working for nothing in return, the satisfaction of being able to help is overwhelming,” she said.

Another organization that helped in the packing event was the Sugarlandia Lions Club. One of the members, Tess Gidlayan, 68, said that they were invited by Virgie Lopue to participate and they accepted because they’re always looking for more opportunities to serve.

“Just knowing that we can help other people is enough,” Gidlayan said. “Giving the gift of time and effort to the less fortunate is very fulfilling.”

There were also student organizations that represented their schools at the volunteer event. One of them was Bacolod Tay Tung High School’s Student Council Organization (SCO). Angelo Cachero, 22, the SCO’s adviser, said that the school had collaborated with NVC Foundation last year when the proceeds of the school’s Harmony for Marawi concert were donated to the NVC Foundation’s projects.

Cachero said their participation in the packing event is just the start of the partnership between the SCO and NVC Foundation. “It’s fulfilling that the things you work hard for will be given to someone who not only deserves it, but needs it,” Cachero said.

Another member of a student organization is John Plaida, 20, of Carlos Hilado Memorial State College’s Youth Empowering Youth Initiative. He said the activity yesterday was the second packing event of the NVC Foundation his organization has participated in.

“We help because when you volunteer, nothing comes back to you and you don’t earn anything, but it still feels good to know you’re helping people who need it,” Plaida said.

Many of the people who volunteered were also members of the NVC Foundation. One of the members present was Manon Hernaez, 75. She has been a member since the organization was founded.

When asked why she joined when they were starting it up, she said “I like the people behind [the foundation] and I trust them so I’m willing help.”

She also said, “When you’re a member, you’re also a volunteer. (Volunteering) may seem like a really small thing but it makes you feel good at the end of the day… It’s a bonding experience but you also get to help people.”

Kilayko said the good turnout of volunteers was expected. “It isn’t hard to look for volunteers. This event is enough proof that there are many people willing to (participate),” she said. “I think that all hearts are made to serve, we just need to give them a venue and opportunity to do it.”