BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Laban Leni Negros Occidental (LLNO) volunteers yesterday started their first Christmas Day early in Barangay Villamonte, Bacolod City, to kick-off their 9-days of giving in celebration of the holidays.
More than 450 parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Church in Brgy. Villamonte, Bacolod City, were treated to “lugaw” (hot porridge), pink pandesal and cereals right after the first Simbang Gabi mass. The lugaw has become synonymous to the brand of kindness that presidential candidate, Leni Robredo is known for.
In neighboring Our Lady of Candles Church in Capitol Heights, 200 parishioners gathered after the dawn mass to receive their rice packs from LLNO volunteers.
“This is the start of our 9-days of giving and we will be doing this in identified communities in Bacolod and Negros Occidental as our way of paying forward the kindness and generosity from our volunteers.” LLNO spokesperson Pinky Ocampo said.
The LLNO group launched their “Star of Hope” drive November 30, aiming to give 1,000 packs of 2-kilos rice to a thousand families in time for the Christmas season. In a week’s time, the target was reached and the group aimed to double the number.
“The donations pouring in was just overwhelming that when we ended the drive last December 15, we surpassed our second target of 2,000 rice packs,” Ocampo said, adding that rice was sourced directly from local farmers “to help them out as well.”
On Friday, 200 parishioners in Brgy. Mansilingan, also in Bacolod City, will get rice packs while on Saturday, rice distribution will be in Brgy. Handumanan, along with Palugaw ni Leni.
Areas of rice distribution include EB Magalona, Sagay City, Hinobaan, Sipalay City and will end in Bacolod at the San Sebastian Cathedral on the last Simbang Gabi on December 24 where lugaw will also be served.
Ocampo also said that they set-aside rice packs and advised the “Lugaw Team” to be on standby in case a call for help will be issued in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.
“This is a wonderful way of celebrating Christmas and our volunteers are happy that they are able to serve others. We hope that through this, we can reinforce the message of giving, of sharing, of love for our kasimanwas and for our country that was inspired by VP Leni and her running mate, Senator Kiko Pangilinan,” Ocampo added.*