2022 Philippine Elections

Stars of hope raise funds for Negros Occidental poor

Inday Espina-Varona

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Stars of hope raise funds for Negros Occidental poor

Supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo hang stars, each representing a donation that will buy rice for poor Negros Occidental families, on Christmas trees at the Laban Leni-Negros headquarters in Bacolod City.

Inday Espina-Varona/Rappler

Laban Leni Negros Occidental volunteers decorate a Christmas tree with thousands of small, pink stars. Each star represents a 2-kilo pack of rice donation to poor families.

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines —  Supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, November 30, festooned Christmas trees with hundreds of small, pink stars, each representing a two-kilo rice pack donation for poor families in Negros Occidental.  

Four-year-old Bea Mirano and other children of Laban Leni Negros Occidental (LLNO) volunteers hang the first stars during the formal opening of their 24/7  center at a gasoline station in Barangay Villamonte.

Bea came with a piggy bank that contained P100. Eight-year-old Ava told Rappler would dispose some old toys to purchase more stars.

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LLNO hit its initial target of 1,000 stars in just three days, volunteer Cheala Mirano announced during the short program. “Because of the overwhelming response, we’ve now doubled that target,” she added. 

The original quota allowed LLNO to purchase 2,000 kilos of rice. The group will buy rice directly from small farmers, instead of traders.

A volunteer at the event also told Rappler that some groups have started their own drives to add other food products to the rice packs. 

Christmas, Christmas Tree, Child
Four-year-old Bea Mirano on her way to hang the first star of hope at the new 24/7 Laban Leni Negros Occidental center in Bacolod City.

Members of LLNO chapters in other cities and towns in Negros Occidental would also put up Christmas trees in their communities to multiply the impact of the Bacolod initiative.

Volunteer George Ascalon said the star of hope represented belief in the capacity of Filipinos to help each other amid the pain and economic suffering brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.

The ceremony followed a short zumba flash mob at the city government center fountain area where around 100 volunteers danced and whooped to an Ilonggo jingle for Robredo and the pop hit, “Fight Song”. 

Robredo volunteers here have served tens of thousand hot “lugaw” meals to urban poor communities across the province in the last two weeks, LLNO said. – Rappler.com

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