TFC News

'JollyBox' looks to bring holiday joy to less fortunate in PH

Steve Angeles | TFC News USA

Posted at Oct 07 2021 01:53 PM

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The ber months are here, and that means two things for Filipinos: 'tis the season for balikbayan boxes, and the season for giving.

For Ayesha Connolly of Mrs. Connolly's Traditional Galapong Bibingka, this reflects how Christmas begins early in the Philippines. "It's just the spirit of Christmas for us Filipinos. Christmas starts in September, so we're just greeting everybody 'Merry Christmas,' making sure everybody feels the Christmas spirit not only in the Philippines but also in the States; and whatever we can do to help our kababayans in the Philippines as well," Connolly said.

JollyBox looks to do both. The giving company was started in August of 2020 by local Los Angeles photographer Madeline Arenas. In the past year, it has sent relief goods to some 50 communities throughout the Philippines.

For the holidays, they will be raising funds by selling parols, as well as getting donations from local businesses like that of Ayesha Connolly who donates proceeds from their bibingka sales at pop-up events. "We aim to provide 67 families in Taal, Batangas with noche buena for Christmas. All the Taal, Batangas evacuees," Connolly said.

JollyBox asserts the need is bigger than ever. Aside from the numerous natural calamities that hit the Philippines yearly, COVID-19 cases continue to rise and with lockdowns in many major cities, more and more people need help.

Connolly agrees. "I have my family in Tondo, Manila and they say that most of the relief goods are not enough for a family; and it's not like everyday or regularly. That's why we have to put a little more effort to help our kababayans in the Philippines because they are not getting as much help right now."

The grassroots group will continue collecting goods year round, as they visit different Filipino pop-up and food events which have become popular throughout the pandemic.