After months of living on lockdown, consumers are making up for all that lost time buying the things they need, and even the ones they don’t really need.
In the U.S., market analysts are calling this phenomenon revenge spending, and are reporting that this is waking up the local economies that have been in the doldrums for a while now.
Can we really blame people for celebrating life after they have survived over a year of the pandemic? Some spending should be okay, but as with all things, try to do it in moderation and make sure your shopping does not get out of hand. Before you buy a new pair of leather shoes, or a new designer bag, remember how the ones you already own sat in your closet for a long time thanks to COVID-19.
But if you have your heart set on spending, why not consider revenge giving?
If you want to draw some inspiration, I can point you in many directions including World Vision Development Foundation, whose social and development work continued through COVID-19, the Taal Volcano eruption, the earthquake that hit Masbate and the many typhoons that left widespread damage in their wake.
Chairperson Ed Jimenez recalls that “with the quarantines that started in 2020, World Vision decided to give emergency unconditional cash transfer of P1,000.00 to the most vulnerable families we were assisting. The logistics of distribution in the middle of a lockdown was not easy so we leveraged on our partnerships with the local government at barangay and municipal level plus a financial service provider and tapped digital technology to deliver our assistance.”
COVID-19 “infects” giving priorities
One more thing we can blame on the world’s deadliest virus to date is the major shift it caused in giving priorities with the poor communities made even more vulnerable.
In a survey conducted by World Vision among children globally including the Philippines, the respondents highlighted three important factors that directly changed their lives on a massive scale: (a) school disruption, (b) emotional distress due to social distancing, and (c) increasing poverty.
Over 70 percent of the children and young people said that they felt isolated and lonely due to school closures. Moreover, they pointed out that this had a negative impact on their learning and daily routines and increased their sense of isolation and despair. More than 90% acknowledged that they were facing emotional distress and troubling feelings, including anxiety, anger, and worry due to the uncertainty of how long this crisis will last and dealing with isolation.
Offering a hand up, not just a handout
World Vision in the Philippines used timely feedback to pivot the priority needs of the areas where they are present.
National Director Rommel Fuerte listed the top three as: (1) livelihood that will enable families to recover economically; (2) educational support to poor children especially those who don’t have the means for remote learning; and (3) health and nutrition interventions including awareness for COVID-19 vaccination.
“On livelihood, we are providing the families with business starter kits, livestock raising, backyard gardening and continuous financial literacy and savings,” relates Fuerte. “On education, we have programs such as the Unlock Literacy, promotion of Life Skills for Children, various support to schools such as providing printers, bond papers, ink, provision of school supplies to children in completing their modules, even some gadgets including radios, tablets, or laptops, depending on the need and available resources. Finally, on health and nutrition, we drove awareness on COVID-19 infection control and prevention and vaccination, side by side other programs like provision of hygiene supplies to health centers and families, Mental Health/psychosocial sessions for children, and Psychosocial First Aid training for Faith leaders and Staff to be rolled out in communities.”
Even with their focus on these areas, Fuerte says “we also stand prepared to provide emergency assistance to families affected by natural disasters.”
Where to channel your revenge giving
If these community programs tug at your heartstrings, consider giving back and channeling the urge for revenge spending to revenge giving instead.
With World Vision, there are many ways to help, starting with signing up as a Child Sponsor. If you are not ready to make a giving pledge, you can also make a one-time donation and give to communities that need them most, or to specific programs such as the Back to School Abutin Na10 campaign which seeks to provide learners with school kits and printed modules.
You can also “infect” your families and friends with the revenge-giving bug by fundraising for World Vision through its ready crowdfunding platform called Joy to Give where you can personally raise funds for specific causes and programs. Or if you really have the shopping urge, try their e-commerce platform Joy2Cart, where you can buy products and merchandise produced by community partners.
While the pandemic hurt the wallets of many Filipinos, thankfully many charities report sustained interest from both new and loyal donors to provide assistance where help is most needed.
Jimenez, who also serves as Trustee for World Vision International, declares that “over the long haul, we are developing more sustainable means to assist the vulnerable families and their children cope with the economic challenges ahead.”
In his many years of service with the child-focused and faith-based global non-profit, Jimenez shares this testimony: “It is difficult to give when you yourself are needy. But we can give even in dire situations only by the enabling Grace of God as we look at God’s own sacrificial and unconditional gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Aneth Ng-Lim serves as Trustee and Foundation Member for World Vision in the Philippines
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.