DOWNEY – On Sunday, June 7, the KIWIN’S of Diamond Division, which consists of seven high school clubs including Downey High School, witnessed meals they packaged with their own hands be distributed to school children in the Philippines.
The project was inspired by Downey High seniors Karina Gonzalez and Liz Manalili. KIWIN’S from Downey, Santa Fe, St. Pius- Matthias, Torrance, South Torrance, Palos Verdes, Narbonne, and PV Peninsula High Schools raised money for most of the school year and packaged over 24,000 meals in the Downey High gym earlier this year to be sent to needy children in the Philippines.
KIWIN’S is a youth auxiliary of the Kiwanis service organization.
In just a little over 12 weeks after the food was sent from Downey, the shipping container had arrived and was being distributed to the children of Bohol and Palawan. KIWIN’S worked with humanitarian organizations such as Harvest Pack and International Care Ministries, who helped get the food to the children.
Student leaders said they were surprised to receive so many thank you letters, pictures, and videos of children saying “Thank You.”
“I was moved to tears when I saw the images of the children eating a meal that we packaged ourselves,” said Katherine Lua, a senior at Downey High and treasurer of the campus KIWIN’S club.
Not only were meals delivered to Bohol and Palawan, but two ultra poor schools in the region of Tarlac also received monetary donations from Downey High KIWIN’S to help fund their own school feeding program. In addition, students also donated books, school supplies, and tsinelas (sandals).
The children were very thankful to receive school supplies and books but what made them most excited was receiving brand new tsinelas because most students cannot afford new ones and are forced to either wear ones handed down from older siblings or a pair that is old and worn out, said Isabelita M. Bodres, a teacher at Banaba Elementary School.
The staff and students of Banaba Elementary were so grateful that they put together a song to sing the KIWIN’S and put on dance performances coordinated by classes. They hung banners around the school to thank the KIWIN’S for all of their generosity.
“When I saw all of the banners in the background and heard the song the kids sang to us I burst into tears because I finally understood how blessed I am to have been able to help others less fortunate than I”, said Karina Gonzalez, lieutenant governor of Diamond Division KIWIN’S.
In closing, Principal Teresa Esposito expressed her gratitude to the KIWIN’S.
“Thank you for extending your helping hand to our students,” she said. “We all are very glad that there are some people like you that really care about the well being and future of our children. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much KIWIN’S.”