Reaching out

The author hands over a grocery-filled pail to a patient at the PGH.

What does “giving” mean? I asked myself. The mental image of two hands comes to mind, with one hand reaching out to another. The difference between the two is that the first hand can be seen full while the second is empty. Surely, we can quickly relate to the hand that best describes us. I found myself more than blessed, the one with the full hands in the midst of people at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) gift-giving event.
I could say that I was just tagging along at first, not thinking and not expecting much. In my head, I was the manpower that my Aunt Anabel needed, and that fuelled my interest to do what I was asked to do. At noontime that day, we met and transported the gifts, household pails that were filled with groceries.
We arrived at PGH not long after and, to my surprise, a large crowd of people welcomed us. Those who received gift-stubs for the PGH event gathered around the courtyard area waiting in line, in numbers I did not expect. Why are there so many people? I asked myself. I was literally in the middle of that crowd because the event was set up in the middle of the hall. I was looking, thinking and grasping at what it all meant. They were many people who wanted our gifts, possibly because they really needed them.
What were we giving? Gifts. The people there were eagerly waiting for us and for the event to commence because they were waiting for our gifts. Truth be told, these gifts – grocery-filled pails from Kaisa – were not much. They were not extravagant comparable to thousands of pesos in cash, but they were a humble relief that we were offering, symbolizing hope, comfort and a little cheer that we thought these people could use. That was our gift, and to me, every single thank you and smile I got that day while I was handing out the pails were the very signs I needed to know that our gifts were well-received. Relief, hope, comfort and cheer.
It all happened in that bright hall in PGH, the sun shining through the roof, and it was hot. While Christmas songs were playing, I could feel the people’s excitement and gratitude. Indeed, it was a happy occasion and a day away from the ordinary in the hospital when the reality of worry was set aside for a few hours. It was all because of the joint efforts of people reaching out to those in need. In all honesty, I felt happy to take part as a volunteer. I was encouraged.
I learned that we should give and it is not hard to find those empty hands. As soon as we can see others and recognize the sick, unfortunate and needy, we realize that their hands are empty and ours are not, so we should give whatever and however we can.

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