The Kids Say “Thank You”…


Her name is Elizabeth, aged 7 and in Grade 2. She was the photogenic girl whose image I used in the cards printed for this year’s fund raising program. She comes from a large family with many siblings. Mother is working in Manila, father struggles to feed all of the family. She is also a part of this year’s feeding program in Cebu. In a way, I was happy to see her again and thrilled she was still part of this year’s program. But I was also distraught when told that times are just so tough that perhaps more than a few times, the kids in the program may only get our meal that particular day, skipping nonexistent meals at home. We chatted for a few minutes, well, actually, I chatted and she was simply mortified that she had to answer a few questions from this strange tall dude… My heart was aching.


And a few minutes after the main feeding program was completed, this boy, Carlo, aged 11 and in grade 3 (yes, his age and grade level are accurate), noticed me standing by myself in one corner of the school yard, observing the kids, and he purposefully walked over, completely on his own initiative, and shyly looked up at me to say in the most earnest of tones… “Sir, daghang salamat sa pagkaon.” (Sir, thank you so much for the food). I cannot replicate in written form his body language, tone, and eyes. But, I can assure you, it broke my heart. I am not a sentimental type, but this was a tear-jerking moment. Imagine that and say it to yourself many times if you have participated in the feeding program. I know if they could, the kids would say “thank you” to every single one of you.


We may have already provided 20,000 meals since last Christmas, and will likely provide another 15-20,000 meals over the next year, but it just isn’t enough. These kids deserve better, and a part of me feels worse for seeing this so up close, because anything we do is just a tiny drop in the bucket. I will never again take ANY meal, fancy or not, for granted. On behalf of all of the beneficiaries, let me say again, THANK YOU!!!

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37 Responses

  1. such a heartwarming post MM…
    in these tough times, i believe there’s still so much to be thankful for…
    bless your good heart MM!

  2. Just reading your post makes me teary. Elizabeth is a pretty kid. What you and your crew are doing provides hope for these children. I hope you guys continue doing this.

  3. I have a lot of commonality with Elizabeth. She was my younger version – our facial features are the same nose, eyes, etc. With her exotic and naive look and take picture well, she could be the next Gloria Diaz in Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat Ng Lupa Part II. Something to watch. Well, as for me, I did not end up a movie actress but I never give up my ambition to be one in my midlife career. To Elizabeth, Carlo and their peers, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up fight, fight life!

  4. I’m such a cry baby when it comes with stories like this.=)

    It’s a good thing many are still concern with the plight of some of the less-fortunate members of our society.=)

  5. You’re welcome Elizabeth!!!! translation in Cebuano please, MM?

    Like Connie C, I am semi-retired. I do not bake anymore for other people for quite a while now…not as much as I used to anyway…but for Elizabeth, I will come out of retirement this season and send to you all the $ I shall get for baking their ensaymadas and cookies and chocolate cakes and yule logs and cooking their kakanins and ulam and merienda and…!!!

    Season’s Greetings!!!

  6. This was very moving. Traveling around the country, one of the things that breaks my heart is the sight of children who seem to have very little confidence and pride in themselves, who cannot see themselves rising above the poverty in their homes and communities. It’s sad to see the flight of dreams and, in their place, the onset of resignation at such a young age. Education truly is the key to break out of the cycle.

  7. Hi MM! What you are doing might not be enough, but it is still SOMETHING. And doing something, no matter how little or insignificant it may seem to you or me, is but more than doing NOTHING at all! Sometime, someday, I wish we too could help you on this.

  8. Just spoke with a friend from Cebu who bought out her siblings’ share of a property on which a building will be erected for a reading program cum recreation center for disadvantaged children. I am sending her MM’s posts on his charitable endeavor.

    We shall be comparing notes on a preschool reading/feeding program we will launch in Puerto Princesa, hopefully with women’s reproductive health, child development and organic farming projects as well. We might at some point get some advice from MM. We’ll see.

  9. shucks. i’m teary-eyed in the office from reading this. i’ll be at the salcedo market tomorrow to hand my donation for this project, MM. keep it up!

    Bless you and your family!

  10. yes, MM allow me this angel gave you thanks in behalf of all these experiencing souls.

  11. Damn you Marketman for making me cry. It was a good cry. The comment about the kids patiently lining up for a good meal compared to the US shoppers who trampled a man to death struck a chord in my heart.

    I wish you a thousandfold blessing on you, your family, your crew and your company. May you be blessed with an abundance of joy, laughter, friends and food. Sometimes, God sends us angels disguised as people like you, MM.

    More power and keep up your wonderful work.

    I need to get more tissues to blow out my nose. :)

  12. hrrrmmm…that’s me trying to get rid of the lump in my throat, trying hard not to cry.

    on behalf of all the kids you are helping, thank you, MM. without your willingness to help, your generosity, and just because “maganaka ka at mayap kang tau,” (marc can translate for you) the kids might not have these meals.

    merry christmas!

  13. I’ve been assisting many feeding programs which were part of various companies’ CSR.
    I know how you felt MM, having that lump in your throat you couldn’t swallow just by a child’s innocent and sincere thank you. But instead of feeling good after the programs, frustration overtakes me, knowing there would be no follow up of that feeding. Companies usually shift their outreach activities from one institution to another, thus, banishing any of these children’s hopes that they would be fed good meals again.
    Your feeding program is the best I’ve seen because there is a SINCERE GOAL of ensuring the kids are fed CONSISTENTLY and WELL, and not just a fly-by-night thing where the bosses just have their photos taken with the kids and that’s it, goodbye, see you never.
    This effort may be a drop in the bucket because of the thousands of hungry children out there, but for Carlo and Elizabeth, hope still lingers in their hearts – knowing they will SEE YOU AGAIN.
    Thanks MM for making us a part of these children’s hopes.. We your readers are always here for you.

  14. reading this made me cry. i know the moment, i know the feeling. i hope we get to help until carlo and elizabeth and their classmates are able to help feed other children on their own.

  15. He who is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord God, and He will repay him for his good deed. Proverbs 19:17

    You will be blessed for your kindness, MM.

  16. this is the first time that a MM blog post made me teary-eyed.
    thanks for the chance to help out again =)

  17. I would say thank you elizabeth, carlo and the rest of the 100+ kids on the feeding program. Hopefuly who ever read this will be able to help on any capacity so that the feeding programing can continue and be able to provide more that 3x a week meal to these beatiful sons of God who deserve a meal 3x a day.

    Please help to forward this link to every filipino people who you think has the capacity to donate at least a meal a day.

  18. hi MM… I’m a student from Visayas State University, student of Monina Escalada. Actually its my first time dropping comments here in marketmanila. This post make me cry especially with the first photo(elizabeth)that photo and the statement below it really touches my heart. On the other picture, Carlo, I almost cry when he said “SIR, THANK YOU FOR THE FOOD” to MM, it makes my heart cry like a falls…huhuhu :(
    Continue doing this MM… hope to join on your feeding program someday.

  19. i’ve worked in refugee camps where people are dependent on food rations- i’ve had that existential question- what we are doing is a drop in the bucket… keep me going, I told myself, what we do impacts directly the patients…if we save a child from dying from severe malnutrition that is already something. In such cases, I look at the impact on individuals rather than the whole camp because available funding can only go so much mainly to the most vulnurable.

  20. Fr. Elis Santos, SDB and parish priest of Tondo once told me “The finest hour in our life is when we have done good things to nameless people without expecting them to remember our acts of love and kindness.”
    So tho the MarketManila family, congratulations on your finest hours. God bless you MM for spearheading this program.

  21. my heart felt warm and makes me want to cry reading this post. theres no better feeling than hearing those words of absolute gratefulness from a child..=(..God bless your good heart MM..I just pray that someday no child will ever experience skipping meals, worse, hunger.hats off to you guys!

  22. I have a stupid question, is there any feeding program funded by the gov? When I hear about all the corruptions going in the country, could you imagine how many kids can be fed and educated with that 700 million pesos. It just boggles my mind. When I see and read about the kids starving, it really breaks my heart, but then I get angry that it takes an individual like you among all these so called leaders, to do something about it.
    I don’t think I can be in your shoes because deciding who can be included in in the feeding program would be such a challenge. Thank you Marketman for doing what we all would like to do but only think about. GOD BLESS YOU!

  23. Really touching. You are a man after my own heart. God is so happy with you….We will continue to pray for you and your family for “paying forward” God’s goodness to you and your family and staff…Holiday cheers!!

  24. paris4444,

    The most effective feeding program by government can only be population control. Our school system is also getting punished because of high population growth. More and more illiterate kids enter grade school every year. teachers cannot handle the load and if they fail these kids, the mayors and governors and congressmen would be after them. Deterioration by the numbers. It’s a weird figure of speech, so help me think of a better one.

  25. BrianB, I completely agree that explosive population growth is at the root of the problem, but for these kids, that have already made it onto the planet, they need food… Now if only folks decided to have fewer kids on average…

  26. I’ve scrolled down past 31 comments and the lump in my throat still hasn’t gone away.

    MM, thanks for making me a part of this feeding program. I know that good attacts better and soon you will have lots more Good Samaritans who will want to donate to this worthy undertaking for our youth.

    I will find my way to any of the pick up points to give my donation. God bless you and May He smile on our Filipino children as they struggle to go to school to feed their minds and get a nutritious meal to feed their bodies.

    Bettyq, that is such a wonderful gesture, coming out of semi retirement to bake and cook for these children. They deserve all the help they can get.

  27. P.S. Can Carlo be the next “poster boy” for the next card?

    P.P.S. Maybe also, with the “money route’ now established (i.e., Bank accounts where people can deposit donations) this can be a year’round endeavor for all.

  28. Cecile J, for your “poster boy”suggestion, I ‘d much rather have a group picture with the children enjoying their food. We don’t want to appeal to people’s guilt and sympathy but also be sensitive to the ethics/politics of aid. Sometimes we can do more harm than good as fostering dependency and mendicancy. Also, we can get desensitized from looking at those pictures like those we see on TV all the time? MM knows what he means to accomplish, albeit a temporary one.

    For all of us, we need to do more on how we can change our society for the better with sustainable programs, such as supporting reproductive health programs, mother /child health issues, education/livelihhood programs, etc. It goes without saying that we need to elect the government officials who have a similar vision and hopefully, will deliver. It is hard not to be cynical when we have so many obstacles/difficulties along the way. My humble opinion lang.

  29. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
    And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing…” (from Pass It On by Kurt Kaiser)

  30. hi marketman! i always follow your blogsite, it has been my inspiration for recipes and menus :)

    i would like to ask if there is a way i can participate in any feeding program not just for xmas but throughout the year?

    please email me as i am not sure if ill have a notification on my email if i get a reply here :)

    thank you so much :)

  31. we have this thing called operation shoebox where our friends and some family donate shoeboxes filled with school supplies. when we get to the school, we also sometimes have a small snack and some juice for the recipients. the joy of seeing those kids rip open the shoeboxes, even if they cost less than 100, is unexplainable. it’s like you’ve given them the world, when all you really donated is something cheaper than the price of one lunch. i hope more people will be like you MM. no gift is really too big or too small when it comes to these kids.

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