U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney helps children decorate holiday trees at the American Embassy in Manila.
MANILA – American officials welcomed Filipino children from four local charity centers for an afternoon of holiday tree decorating, snacks, and fun at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippine capital.
The Consular Section, whose staff processes nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to the United States and assists American citizens in need, sponsored last week the holiday tree decorating contest to benefit the charities, an Embassy statement said.
It said each charity received a tree decorated with traditional ornaments and garlands, as well as school supplies, toiletries, and toys for the children.
The event was the first of its kind at the American Embassy, and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney helped the children decorate the holiday trees. The Embassy’s nearly 200 Consular staff members split into four groups, each taking charge of decorating a tree for and with children from the four local charities.
The charities also benefit from regular visits and donations by U.S. Embassy staff through the Embassy Club, a volunteer group composed of U.S. Embassy employees and family members that work with area charities and volunteer organizations, it said.
During the event, the U.S. Embassy Consular Section staff was treated to a performance of gymnastics, holiday songs, and dancing by the attending children.
Consular officers and staff then delivered the trees and supplies to each charity for their enjoyment during the holiday season. Members of the Embassy’s Consular section donated money and supplies to help in decorating the trees.
he St. Luke’s Hospital in Manila also donated several boxes of vitamins to the four charities. The Pan Pacific, Hyatt, and Traders hotels donated food for the event.
The four children’s charities attending the special event were: The Friendship Home, a center for underprivileged children in Malate district that offers wholesome meals; a safe environment to study and play; academic encouragement; and learning programs for more than 80 children; The Little Children’s Home in Rizal province for newborns and babies waiting to be adopted. The home’s Birthing Center trains midwives and cares for indigent, expectant mothers, providing classes on prenatal care, parenting, and family planning.
The Little Sisters of the Assumption run three projects in Pasay City focusing on livelihood, healthcare, and education for preschoolers and the Trichet Learning Center offers schooling and mainstreaming skills to children with autism and Down’s syndrome from the poorer families of Metro Manila. More than 200 students attend classes daily.