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Author Topic: "Adopt a Santa Claus letter" Christmas beneficent campaign  (Read 9453 times)

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« on: November 12, 2010, 19:43 »
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Hi everyone,

Last year I presented to you the program our Mail does for Christmas, in which we adopt a letter written by poor children to Santa Claus, we buy the present and the Mail delivers it. 
http://www.microstockgroup.com/off-topic/christmas-donations-if-anyone-wants-to-help-me/25/

They have already started this year's campaign:
http://www.correios.com.br/papainoelcorreios2010/index.html

I have started collecting money from friends and colleagues by running a second-hand CD auction. Last year we collected around US$1600 with the auction, plus US$400 in extra donations, plus US$300 collected from you guys here (enough for 21 kids from 6 months old to 9 years old - thank you once again!).

We give preference to small children's requests and try to comply with them as much as possibe and feasible. Sometimes they ask for something very expensive (such as those huge Barbie kits) and then we try to get a cheaper equivalent (such as a smaller Barbie kit), so we can pick more chldren.  We did however buy some bicycles (5 last year), as we know this is a dream toy for so many children.

In case anyone wants to help this year, money could be sent to my PP or MB accounts - both _adelaidebs_at_hotmail_dot_com_.  PM me if you want to join this effort, so I can check these accounts and acknowledge the donations.

Not to live the last-minute-shopping stress from last year - I was buying the last presents three days before Christmas - I will be collecting these contributions until Dec. 10.


« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 23:16 »
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I'm in. I'll pm you.

« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 01:27 »
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I'm in too.  :)

lisafx

« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 09:16 »
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Great cause!  Just sent you my latest Crestock payout :)

« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 10:49 »
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Great cause. 1st paypal sent another one later in the month.

« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 11:30 »
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You guys rock!  Got US$190 already!

« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2010, 11:38 »
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US$210. :D

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2010, 22:12 »
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US$210. :D

Please apply the payment I sent you PayPal last year, which was too late.

Best Wishes for the project.

« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 10:50 »
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I didn't really remember that, sorry! 

US$230 now, then.

I was already checking a store's toy promotions this week. I plan to go to the mail later this week to pick up the first letters.

« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2010, 18:25 »
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Not to let this thread disappear!

I've also created a video about the campaign. It's in Portuguese only, but it shows excerpts of some of the letters I picked last year. Some were written by the parents, some by the children themselves.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRQ1ywJRZcY[/youtube]

PS: Is it possible to get rid of Google as in my videos?  I never noticed it in my lovebirds videos, which are in another account.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 18:29 by madelaide »

« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 15:49 »
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US$260 now!!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 16:00 by madelaide »

« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 16:22 »
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Ah, I remember last year's thread!
It's a great cause Madelaide, thank you for doing this!
I didn't have any money in my PayPal account last year, but I do now.
Count me in and thank you for allowing me to participate.
I'll send you a PM soon.
Thank you!

« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 16:41 »
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Ok, done.
Money and a short message sent to you, via PayPal.
Thank you Adelaide and best of luck with the project :)

jbarber873

« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2010, 15:57 »
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Ok, done.
Money and a short message sent to you, via PayPal.
Thank you Adelaide and best of luck with the project :)

+1

« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2010, 16:24 »
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US$310 now - thanks everyone!

We're almost at the amount collected last year (US$330).

« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2010, 11:26 »
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PM'd you yesterday...

« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2010, 14:53 »
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US$340 already.

« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2010, 16:25 »
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US$365 now.  The number of days in a year.   ;D

« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2010, 18:58 »
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US$365 now.  The number of days in a year.   ;D
385$ now :)

« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2010, 13:23 »
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US$365 now.  The number of days in a year.   ;D
385$ now :)
Oh, I had thought it was a mistake, since you had already sent me US$20. So disconsider my email, and thank you so much. :)

« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2010, 16:53 »
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Hey guys, the mail will be receiving presents only until Dec 17th, so I will be accepting donation only until Dec 6th (tomorrow) and then I will request money from PP to my credit card on Dec 7th.

We're having difficulties picking letters.  The mail this year changed their organization, they're accepting only letters from students in selected schools of poor neighborhoods.  In the agency I visited, the lady received about 1,000 letters, but after a week, not having many adoptions, she transferred half of the letters to the central mail agency, but the week after a group from a company nearby adopted most of the remaining letters. When I went there on Friday, she had only six left, but more were to arrive in the afternoon and she was going to ask the central agency to send back some of the letters.  I can go to the central agency, the problem is to take presents there.  In the past I used a mail agency inside a mall, so it was very convenient, but this year they are not part of the official program, even if they are surrounded by slums and receive many letters from needy children.  :(

« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2010, 20:43 »
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Thank you for keeping us updated, Madelaide.
And thank you for everything you've done for the kids. It's a beautiful cause and you're doing a great job. I can see that it's not easy to get everything sorted and ready for Christmas.
Good luck and thank you for allowing us to be a small part of this.
See you next year :)

« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2010, 20:32 »
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Thank you Eireann!

We're facing problems withthe campaign this year - lack of letters.  The mail decided to use a different approach.  Apparently they are discarding letters sent to Santa spontaneously.  Instead, they selected some public schools in poorer areas.  There are two agencies near my office, in one I got aproximately 30 letters (all they had left), the other is out of letters.  Moreover, kids asked presents that are a bit expensive - skateboards and in-line skates, for instance.  Sometimes we see two-three kids of the same classroom asking the same, so we are trying to accomodate these.  Although we have a good amount to spend (I have not even finished spending the money collected at work), we don't intend to spend US$80 in average. Tomorrow I will try to get more letters at the Mail's main office.

We still haven't started using the money collected here. We are trying to arrange also to "adopt" a crche in a slum near our office, I know a guy who used to work in social activities there sponsoroed by our company.

I am not collecting the money from here right now, it's still in my PP account.  Depending on how things go, I will return you all the donations.  :(

RacePhoto

« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2010, 17:54 »
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Thank you Eireann!

We're facing problems withthe campaign this year - lack of letters.  The mail decided to use a different approach.  Apparently they are discarding letters sent to Santa spontaneously.  Instead, they selected some public schools in poorer areas.  There are two agencies near my office, in one I got aproximately 30 letters (all they had left), the other is out of letters.  Moreover, kids asked presents that are a bit expensive - skateboards and in-line skates, for instance.  Sometimes we see two-three kids of the same classroom asking the same, so we are trying to accomodate these.  Although we have a good amount to spend (I have not even finished spending the money collected at work), we don't intend to spend US$80 in average. Tomorrow I will try to get more letters at the Mail's main office.

We still haven't started using the money collected here. We are trying to arrange also to "adopt" a crche in a slum near our office, I know a guy who used to work in social activities there sponsoroed by our company.

I am not collecting the money from here right now, it's still in my PP account.  Depending on how things go, I will return you all the donations.  :(

Fine with me but what's a, crche? I searched and it says Daycare Center.

They can put a little piece of paper on the wall saying "Partially Supported by donations from MicrostockGroup" that would be kind of cool?

Or post a scan of a thank you note and I'm good.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 23:57 by RacePhoto »

jbarber873

« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2010, 17:58 »
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^^^   Madelaide-  I trust you to do something worthwhile with this money to help the kids. Please don't return my donation. Even if there is no sign on the wall. Although that would be cool...

« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2010, 12:08 »
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I had thought crche was a well known foreign word.  :)

Thanks all for your support.  :-* We've basically finished all the letters (a friend is buying the last three we will deliver on Monday), and there is still money left from the CD auction, so I haven't yet touched in the money collected here. I have made contact with the person in charge of the crche, and she said she would talk with the other people in her team and would come with a proposal.  They take care of 45 kids there, so it's quite small in fact.  Also, another colleague is asking for donations to a shelter for children with cancer that come to Rio for treatment. Their supporters have already purchase presents for the kids, but the shelter is always in need of stuff like Sustagen and other special nutrition items.

On Thursday I was able to buy and deliver (thanks to a helpful taxidriver!) two byclicles.  The mail office was full of them, so many children will get one, and that only makes me happpy. Many girls will be rollerskating in Christmas too.  I'm attaching photos of the stuff we bought until last Thursday.  I had six photos, so it's not shown here: 1 doll, 1 kick scooter (I hope this is the right name), 3 balls and 2 backpacks (one with wheels).   Besides that we have 5 rollerskaters, 2 skates and 2 kick scooters.  Again, this is all still with the money collected at work, not here.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 12:17 by madelaide »

« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2010, 12:11 »
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Thanks for the update.

Patrick.

« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2010, 16:50 »
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I have just talked to the lady who takes care of the crche and they have kids aging 2-5 there.  She will send me a list of names and ages.  We arranged that I will buy one toy for each kid, and perhaps also children books and toys for the crche, like building blocks and plastic instruments. 

So guys, I think we will get something done.  ;D

« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2010, 18:12 »
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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2010, 22:26 »
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Wow, sorry, late to the thread.
I absolutely do not want my money back (I'm sure nobody does). I'm sorry things are a bit more complicated this year than they were last Christmas, but I'm relieved and grateful that you have already found an alternative way to use our funds.
All in the name of the same cause - bring a moment of joy to kids in need.
The photos look beautiful, thank you Madelaide for all your efforts and thank you for the update :)

« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2010, 09:38 »
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Thank you for your support, guys.

I'm here in tears, as I have just received the photos from last year that a girl at the mail office took when the kids got their presents.  I've picked three to show you here.  The lady with the kids I'm almost 100% sure were presents bought by us (I do recognize the wrapping paper from the kid at left and at right) and the two bicycles were also ours (not from MSG though).

lisafx

« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2010, 13:07 »
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Maria, thanks for the updates and for sharing the beautiful photos of happy kids!  Please keep my donation and direct it how you see fit.  Great to know kids will get toys who otherwise would not :)

« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2010, 19:25 »
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You guys are super!  ;D

Here is what I purchased with the money collected here, give or take one toy due to the exchange rate.  Dolls for the younger girls, Polly sets for the "older" ones (4 y.o.) - oooh, I love those Polly sets! - friction cars and dinosaurs for the younger boys, bikes and cars for the older ones, musical toys for the very young kids.  The second photo shows what I purchased today to complement the list of 45 kids of the daycare, using the money collected at the CD auction, which I will use also for educational material for their use (they are going to send me a list of suggestions, but we've been talking about puzzles, crayons, memory games, childrens books).  Now I have to wrap everything and put the names. Their Christmas celebration was postponed from tomorrow to Friday in order to allow these preparations.

Our colleague fotografer asked me about having photos from the event. I am considering going there, although I am a bit scary of entering a favela. I'll talk to a guy I know, the one who directed me to the daycare manager, because he often visits as part of his duties as a member of the social responsability group of our company. In any case, I will ask the manager to take photos, even if on a cell phone.

lisafx

« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2010, 19:30 »
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Those look great!  Thanks for all the hard work.  :)

I don't envy you all that wrapping!  Eeeeek!  Maybe you can get some nice volunteer to help you out with it?

« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2010, 20:26 »
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Lisa, actually I am cheating with the packing and I bought those small gift sacks.  ::)

RacePhoto

« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2010, 01:06 »
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Those look great!  Thanks for all the hard work.  :)

I don't envy you all that wrapping!  Eeeeek!  Maybe you can get some nice volunteer to help you out with it?

ditto!

Just jealous that madelaide gets to have all the fun giving them away.  ;)

« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2010, 20:05 »
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Presents to be delivered tomorrow. We hired a Santa Claus - the kids will be so thrilled! I'm going there, so hopefully tomorrow night I'll post some photos of the event.

« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2010, 08:59 »
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Presents given, children delighted. Santa worked very fast, so photos were done also in a hurry. More later, with photos.

lisafx

« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2010, 09:33 »
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Sounds like you really went all out!  How wonderful :D

Looking forward to the pics!

« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2010, 11:22 »
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Beautiful !
This is my best Christmas present, once again thank you Madelaide for giving me the chance to take part :)
Hopefully we'll do it again next year :)

« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2010, 19:27 »
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A background about this daycare, as the girl who was our contact was explaining us (she doesn't manage it as I thought, she coordinates part of an educational initiave sponsored by my company with several public schools in this slum).

This is a daycare that receives financial support from the city government, which is basically the rental of the house, the salary of the eight workers (4 "caretakers", which I believe are not actually teachers except by one, 4 helpers for kitchen, cleaning, etc). Kids are given four meals a day there.

Our company sponsors educational activities in many schools in the area, through an NGO (Redes Mar) that have several other sponsors for education, sanitation, healthcare, art and even a community blog. In the case of the daycare they provide art and music teachers and a storyteller.  I have just found out that one of the activities offered, I don't know for what age range, is photography.  I will certainly dig into this later.  There are programs not just with the kids, but with their parents, who are mostly uneducated people without regular jobs, many unfortunately involved with drugs (alcohol or illegal drugs).

The event took place not in the daycare, because they don't have a large room, but in this NGO's head office, which is an oasis inside the shanty neighbourhood - well built, well kept and its faade is decorated with painted tiles made by kids from one of the art programs (older kids).  Their Christmas celebration was not just the presents with Santa, but singing and other activities.  We weren't able to stay for the whole thing, though, because we could not stay so long away from work.

Checking the images now I realized that only around 35 of the 45 kids were there. I will ask my contact what happened.  It seems they did not bother by the very fake look of our Santa Claus. They knew he was coming and were very excited upon his arrival. When they had their names called to receive their presents, reactions varied from a high-five greeting to some fear of that man in weird costume. After all presents were distributed, they were allowed to open them (and it is interesting how almost all of them respected this arrangement) and I captured some cute reactions that I will show later. Some grouped with friends to show each other what they had gotten, some surrounded Santa for chating.

Below are images of the tree with the presents, the kids waiting Santa to enter, one of the kids receiving his present and kids with Santa.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 19:29 by madelaide »

« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2010, 04:30 »
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Oh my God, I'm all in tears here :)
Giving money to charities is almost the norm around here, we all do it, all the time, but this is something truly special and I'm so grateful I was able to participate.
You've done a wonderful job Madelaide, thank you for your time, your efforts, the background story and the photos.
Were the kids happy? Were they excited? Was there joy?
They look wonderful and I bet the moment was magical :)
Let's do it again! Can't wait :)

« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2010, 13:31 »
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Thanks for posting the pictures. I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest. The Santa didn't look fake, he looked pretty good IMO! Looks like overall you did a wonderful job!!

« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2010, 00:43 »
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Nice job Maria! Thanks for the pics and giving us a chance to participate in your campaign.  :)

« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2010, 22:13 »
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I had expected to upload other images tonight, but one of our lovebirds escaped (I left his cage door opened after I medicated his partner's beak - stupid me!) and it took me almost one hour to find his in a neighbour's apartment five floors above us. I was very shaken. Gladly it all ended well, but I'll edit the images tomorrow (I'm making a composite) and upload it.

Michael, there was a boy named Micael, he was one of the friendliest.

lisafx

« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2010, 09:34 »
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Wonderful pictures!  What a great thing you did for these children!  Thanks again, Maria, for allowing us to be a small part of your efforts :D

RacePhoto

« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2010, 14:50 »
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Wonderful pictures!  What a great thing you did for these children!  Thanks again, Maria, for allowing us to be a small part of your efforts :D

Yeah, that covers it. Nice to be included and be able to do something. It looks like madelaide really spread it out which makes even more kids able to get something.

« Reply #47 on: December 21, 2010, 20:31 »
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So, this is a composite of 26 of the children as they received their presents, and some that I only got a better shot later. A few I didn't get any decent photo of (back or side only - there is one of those backs here, with Santa patting on his head). About 10 were not there, I don't know why.

I hope those smiles make you have a nice Christmas.  I have some other smiles I will send later.

Thank you all for being part of it!


« Reply #48 on: December 22, 2010, 00:15 »
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Thanks..  ;D

« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2010, 12:30 »
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Thanks..  ;D
+1 Great pics, they make me wish I could have been there!!!

lisafx

« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2010, 12:41 »
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Oh, how sweet!  All those happy kids make me smile too :D

« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2010, 13:44 »
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Thank you so much for sharing these lovely photos with us. I'm so glad that we were able to be part of it. :)

« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2010, 14:46 »
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A few more shots of the event.

Michael, the boy at right in the first photo is Micael. What a lovely smile!

« Reply #53 on: December 23, 2010, 14:36 »
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Micael is a very cute kid! What a great smile.;D Thanks for posting the pics, Maria. I'm sure they give all of us a little boost of Christmas spirit.


 

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