Mapúa Malayan Colleges Laguna (Mapúa MCL) has always been committed to promoting social responsibility and community service to its students, employees, faculty members, and alumni. Therefore, before concluding the year 2022, the project titled, At the Frontlines of Social Responsibility: Christmas Community Engagement Series was activated – a series of service-learning and community service activities in Mapúa MCL’s adopted communities in collaboration with the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement (CSCE) and the various departments.
Volunteers composed of students, employees, and alumni conducted their first Christmas community engagement since the pandemic, at Barrio Pasbul, Porac, Pampanga last December 17, 2022.
Assistant Vice-President for Strategic Partnerships and Global Linkages, and concurrently the Director of the Alumni Center, Prof. James Ronald Mesina shared that this project started in 2015 when some alumni and student volunteers visited the community for a Christmas Outreach. It was followed by several community engagement activities in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The Aetas community in Pasbul, Porac, Pampanga is located within the 10-kilometer danger zone of Mount Pinatubo. They were displaced during the volcanic eruption in 1991 but chose to remain in their ancestral lands years after. The community has nearly 200 families in the three (3) sitios: Cuyucot, Liplip and Patal.
From December 7, 2022, students, alumni, employees, and faculty members signed up and volunteered to be a part of the spirit of giving by donating their 3Ts – time, talent, and treasure. Overall, 60 volunteers joined the engagement itself along with over a hundred donors who supported the activity through their in-kind and financial contributions.
To make the day more productive and eventful, each volunteer was assigned to a team with assigned community service tasks. The team in charge of the program conducted several games involving both the volunteers and the Aeta children. This encouraged everyone to connect and interact with the members of the community even more. An unforgettable time was shared with everyone and at the same time, the children had a lot of fun earning and winning various prizes from the donations.
Each committee efficiently collaborated during the engagement. While the games committee were entertaining the Aeta children, another team was appointed to prepare the packed donations that were distributed to the families of the community in Barrio Pasbul. Each pack contained rice, eggs, canned goods, and other easy-to-prepare food products that can basically fulfill the primary needs of an average Filipino family.
The food committee, on the other hand, prepared a filling and bountiful lunch in which all ingredients were from donations of people both inside and beyond the Mapúa MCL community. The meals were then served by the volunteers to the local community. Lunchtime was a communal moment because not only was food shared together as stories about the community’s interesting culture, traditions, and history were learned upon by the volunteers as well.
Mapúa MCL always makes sure to align its community engagements to the Sustainable Development Goals. For this community engagement, the institution aimed to incorporate SDG #2, Zero Hunger and SDG #3, Good Health and Well-being. While projects such as this aren’t immediate solutions to these societal problems, to do it consistently and passionately is always a step closer to achieving it.