Oct 3, 2009

Volunteer Work at GMA

Last night, my friends and I did volunteer at the GMA Foundation specifically in repacking relief goods for the victims of the flood. We wanted to do this at ABS-CBN coz I heard they really have a lot of relief goods for donation, but we heard they were no longer accepting volunteers as there were already a lot of them there. We also tried Red Cross but they still need to schedule us.

The terrible flood caused by Storm Ondoy/Ketsana has submerged a great portion of Metro Manila last Saturday, September 26, and left millions affected with around 300 dead and thousands homeless. Until now, thousands of families are still in the evacuation centers either because the water in their areas has not receded yet or that their houses are really badly damaged that they no longer have a place to stay. The evacuation centers therefore need a lot of assistance in terms of food, clothing and other basic needs.

At about 4 pm in the afternoon yesterday, we, consisting of PIDS employees, set for GMA because we expected traffic jams since it was Friday and a lot of people were going home early due to typhoon Pepeng. The traffic was really bad as it took us an hour and a half to travel from Makati to GMA Kamuning. But first, we dropped the donations to the relief center of GMA. Then we headed to Trinoma to have dinner first, we didn't want to do the volunteer works with empty stomach. When we got back to GMA, we were told to enter through Gate 3, to go to Studio 1. There we got assigned into the canned goods station. There were 7 of us from PIDS and most were wearing our PIDS anniversary polo-shirt. When we entered the studio, the ones doing the 4pm-8 pm shift were already ready to wrap-up. Ours was 8pm-12 midnight. We saw something that looks like a huge pile of plastic bags, thousands of 'em, already with rice and noodles in it, a pile of canned goods, a pile of noodles, and  a pile of rice. People were gathered around each pile which corresponded to each repacking station. Since our job is in the canned goods station, all we had to do was to put some 4 canned goods inside the bag then that's it. That's the entire relief package.

An hour had passed and we felt like we were really very strong, we wasted no time. We felt like it was a race or something. And believe it or not after 2 hours and a half, we managed to move that never-ending pile of plastic bags into the other end of the room and created the pile that was ready for packing into the sacks. It was fun although we rarely talked to each other because we were all very focused in our work.

Just one observation, there was a group of young volunteers, looks like fratmen from a university in Manila, who were very noisy and took break every so often. They also complained a lot and I heard one say that he wasn't going anywhere until he'd found a girl, something like that, which was really not nice. They would pose every now and then to take pics of themselves. The initiative is appreciated but I think that some maturity and a great deal of focus is required for volunteer works.Volunteering is different from an excursion.

For your info especially to those that are planning to do volunteer works, there is a food station inside so don't worry, you won't get starved. Also, after you've made the call, say at GMA, to volunteer, make sure you are listed in their master list, because they won't let you in unless you are listed. Do this by calling them up again and confirm that you are indeed listed. I guess all the people there are already tired so the lists can be sometimes messed up. We called them up twice but still we found our names not listed, it's a good thing we insisted that we called twice already.Also, don't expect that you will see a lot of celebrities there, a lot of people go and volunteer just to see their idols, I don't think this is the time for that. Our shift was 8 to 12 midnight, we really did not expect anything, only Mel Tiangco was there, supervising the works, but then she left us after only a few minutes.


  1. I've always wanted to do volunteer work. I'm so hapy you're helping those in need and putting others before yourself.People like you make the world a better place.

  2. Thanks there! It's a tiny act of kindness. But we people must exert more effort.Have a nice day!

  3. I love seeing this. I have done lots of volunteering work and I am proud of people that dive into these types of situations to help people out.