I was simply stunned and overwhelmed by the reader response to this earlier post on Marketmanila t-shirts. It isn’t often I get 160+ comments on a post so seemingly innocuous in nature. I was even more stunned when Lee, a regular reader and commenter from Bacolod, sent these totally unsolicited and amazingly cool t-shirt designs. I asked Lee for permission to post these graphics and I must say, I thank him profusely for taking the time to come up with these original designs. A wonderful graphics artist, Lee went so far to assure me they are not simply clip art drawings but actually original designs… I am truly amazed… At any rate, what is the hubbub about? I figured I should give you all an early, possibly premature heads up to better gauge the potential reader response. Everyone assumes I am selling shirts, which I am not…so here is the plan or intention…
Every Christmas Marketman & family typically sponsor donations to schools, usually in the form of hundreds of books for libraries, and/or we facilitate gingerbread and candy or food donations to children’s wards of hospitals or we donate to more established children’s charities or to environmental causes. But we can only do so much as an individual family. In the past, I have asked for reader participation only in the form of comments, which in turn translate into more books, more money or more trees, etc. that are donated. This year I want to do a little more. So here is the beginnings of a plan…
The Intended Beneficiaries
Grade School Children in a City Public School(s), probably ages 4-10, who are recognized as being malnourished or undernourished, and who are chosen to participate in the school’s feeding program. The intention of the program is to improve their caloric and vitamin intake and to get them to a more healthy weight. The by-product is that they will hopefully do better in school. And the lure of a meal(s) will also attract them to attend class. There are several feeding programs in place and I already have a particular school in mind, but details have not been hammered out with school administrators so I cannot name the school until the program is certain. And I agree this is a stop-gap measure, not a permanent solution, but I still think it is a wonderful and concrete gesture if a shirt means 17-20 meals for hungry kids.
How will it work?
For every PHP500 that readers “donate” directly to the feeding program, Marketman will give the reader a free t-shirt (possibly one of two or three final designs), choice based on availability on a first come and first serve basis only. The PHP 500 donation will go directly to the feeding program, and Marketman will not retain ANY of this money. In other words, FULLY 100% of the gift or donation will end up with the malnourished kids. I estimate that each meal will cost roughly PHP25-30, so a PHP500 donation (or one t-shirt) will in effect feed 17-20 kids. Marketman will shoulder the full cost of the t-shirt and will treat this as his “gift” to you and in effect, to the feeding program, along with coordinating this effort. Donations will be collected at one or two Metro Manila sites in November (probably Makati and Mandaluyong, and maybe Cebu City) over a period of say 2-3 days only. Unless the schools can mobilize earlier, I suspect the feeding programs will occur in January and February 2008. No donations by mail, cheque, etc. can or will be accepted. Readers abroad will have to ask relatives in Manila to go to designated pick-up sites. Please understand I cannot manage the hairy logistics otherwise. This is already a major effort for me as described.
The Magnitude of this Effort
Initially, I was prepared to sponsor up to 300 limited edition and otherwise impossible to acquire Marketmanila t-shirts, which in turn would result in PHP150,000 in donations to the public school feeding program, or as many as 6,000! meals. Marketman would give away 300 shirts, in effect, my donation would amount to roughly 36,000 or about PHP120 per shirt. Unfortunately, that means a pretty modest quality shirt, but hey, it’s the hungry kids that we are really thinking about… However, based on the reaction so far, Marketman has upped the ante, and is willing to print up to 500 shirts if readers out there are really interested in helping. This would mean as much as PHP250,000 in money for a feeding program (or several programs) or as many as 10,000! meals.
Why is this worth the effort and hopefully, your time and money?
What is Christmas if not ultimately the spirit of giving. And as a group of people interested in food, how can we collectively do something good, and yet, not bust the bank? I think this is potentially a very good thing. You give PHP500, which in turn will provide 17-20 basic meals for undernourished children, Marketman gives you a limited edition t-shirt in return, valued at PHP100-120, totally free, Marketman gets a teeny weeny bit of publicity from the website address printed on the back of your t-shirt, but I make no money whatsover from the process or my website and as many as 10,000 meals will be provided for students who need it most.
What do you think?
So what do you think? Is this a looney idea? Are there enough of you who want shirts? Wouldn’t this make a great Christmas present? What I need to know NOW is a rough number of shirts that I might need to print. If you are interested, please leave your comment here, and a rough estimate of the number of shirts you might sponsor. I realize this is a preliminary call, and I will not hold you to the number if you don’t like the final sayings on the shirts or any other reason. I have not decided on the final design of 2 or 3 different shirts. This is just an estimate. But I will give preference to those who indicate their interest early if it turns out that the t-shirts are spoken for like hotcakes. Then again, maybe only a dozen readers will think this is a worthwhile endeavor. Let the comments begin…