기사입력 2013-12-06 22:12
As autumn fades, some will be looking forward to winter with its skiing and festive holidays, but many will be dreading the cold.
But one group of expats in Gwangju is looking to harness some early festive spirit to make the frosty weather a bit more bearable for children in need.
The “Adopt a Child for Christmas” project looks to provide orphanages across the city with Christmas gifts, mainly warm jumpers, vests and boots. “Gwangju is an extremely generous and charitable city,” said Jordan VanHartingsveldt, who is leading the project this year. “They’ve banded together time and time again to support various causes throughout the year, from expats in precarious positions to Koreans affected by unexpected circumstances.”
“We decided to tap into this, what seems to be, innate desire to help others and spread the love to children unfortunate enough to have been abandoned by their parents.”
The project is currently in its second year. Last year, it gave gifts to 200 orphans in the area. VanHartingsveldt was not involved last year, but agreed to take over when last year’s project leader, Daniel Lister, had to reduce his involvement due to time constraints. The group has also recruited some Korean volunteers and vanHartingsveldt says that they would welcome more.
“We are still looking for Korean volunteers - about five - to work side by side with our foreign helpers,” he said. “Right now, though, our goal is getting the word out as far as possible and, hopefully, bringing in enough support to surprise 300 children with gifts.”
The plan is to help orphanages individually, with each child in one of the orphanages helped getting a present. The group is taking donations of gifts, with a guideline price of around 30,000 won ($26), or cash donations. But VanHartingsveldt was keen to stress that the money would go to purchasing gifts, which would then be directly given to the orphans, rather than the orphanages.
He added that some orphanages had asked for different donations, so alternative gifts would be given to them. Donations can be made at the Gwangju International Center or by bank transfer until Dec 10. Details of how to donate and other information is available at the “Adopt a Child for Christmas - Gwangju” Facebook page.