Rappler, foundations donate balls to Sulu youth
MANILA, Philippines - Sometimes all it takes is a call for help.
After Maj Stephen L. Cabanlet of the Philippine Marine Corps shared his story about their Football for Peace program in Sulu, the support started pouring in.
Rappler published in June the story of the Sulu kids who play football without adequate resources. Not long after, Cabanlet said, he was contacted by One Meralco Foundation which said they wanted to help. Rappler's Natashya Gutierrez thought of starting her own campaign on her Facebook page, asking for 25 balls for her 25th birthday.
Marine Commandant Maj Gen Rustico Guerrero had thrown his support behind the initiative, and in a meeting with Rappler representatives, indicated that other areas needed help as well -- Tawi-Tawi, Sultan Kudarat, and Palawan, which had their own football teams.
On Thursday, July 12, a Rappler team delivered an initial set of 28 balls from donors, including the 18 balls that Gutierrez had already collected. More balls have been pledged.
To push the initiative further, Rappler is launching its "Balls for Peace" campaign this Friday, July 13. But even before the formal launch, at least 3 foundations have already taken notice -- One Meralco Foundation, The Younghusbands Foundation, and the MVP Sports Foundation.
One Meralco Foundation and the MVP Sports Foundation are donating 500 rubber soccer balls, while the Younghusbands Foundation of the Azkals' Phil and James, are pledging 100 balls.
In a letter addressed to Guerrero, One Meralco Foundation president Jeffrey Tarayao said they support sports as an advocacy not only for its health benefits but for its effects on character formation as well.
"Part of this advocacy is to help and sustain sports programs through sports clinics and equipment donation," he wrote.
The commitment of the foundations to the Marine Corp's cause is evident.
For One Meralco Foundation, they chose to turn over the 500 balls and launch their Makabayan Volunteerism Program in celebration of the birthday of their chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan. The new program intends to provide opportunities for employees of Meralco and its subsidiaries and affiliates to do their share in nation-building by volunteering in the community.
According to the letter, Guerrero and his men will also be recognized for their "volunteering efforts in developing the football skills of and instilling values to the youth of Sulu."
The turnover of balls is scheduled for this Friday, July 13. - Rappler.com