On the advent of the closing year 2015, Celadon has organized a charitable event that’s designated to warm the hearts of passive observers and the young recipients alike: the Celadon REACH program in collaboration with Right Start Community, Inc. And what better way do the volunteers express their love and care towards their recipients than with dumplings?
Occurring twice per semester, Celadon exposes its members to an outreach program dedicated to helping out less privileged children in an assigned venue in San Juan, Manila by having fun with them for a day for four hours on the 7th of November (from 8am-12pm), connecting with the kids through games, fun activities, and the main highlight of the event: dumpling making.
Previously, Celadon held the same event on the 26th of September of the same year in sync with the 2015 Mid-Autumn Festival. The volunteers all engaged in the traditional dice game and served mooncakes to the children.
Celadon members and kids alike first engage in crafting paper cut-outs of their liking and place them on sticks to make puppets of sorts for both the kids (and the members) to play with. Along with that is the classic coloring activity, a ritual that never gets old with kids and adults alike no matter which generation you belong to.
The kids were also made to play “Calamansi-On-A-Spoon Race”, a less messy version of the classic “Egg-On-A-Spoon Race” where participants were made to hold out spoons with calamansi on them with their mouths with their goal to reach the finish line first without dropping the calamansi on the way. The children were laughing at the end of the game.
But the best was yet to come, for the main highlight of the event, dumpling-making, made the kids’ day(s) even better. Armed with nothing but an arsenal of cooking utensils and ingredients, the Celadoneans in charge prepared dumplings for the kids to enjoy. After serving them, the children were then asked to each get a piece of dumpling served with toothpicks to act as their utensils in place of the usual forks. The children enjoyed their treat and the Celadoneans present were glad to see them happy, but there was more to it than that.
Dumpling making is a discipline that involves manually stuffing vegetable and meat filling into a dumpling wrapper, (though some of the veggiemeat filling was instead served as is on toothpicks) steaming the filled dumpling wrapper and then serving them on a plate. It’s an authentic haute cuisine of Chinese culture, and a staple food for some Chinese-Filipinos. In this case however, the dumplings themselves symbolize the delectable, good-willed feelings of love wrapped in a simple wonton wrapper, showing how great acts of kindness can come even in the most simple of ways.
“My heart is filled with so much joy from seeing how the kids were able to be given an opportunity to be exposed to the Chinese-Filipino culture by experiencing their first bite of dumplings,” says Stephanie Louise Sayson, VP for External Affairs.
“As it is a goal of the organization to nationbuild, our activities focus on educating and encouraging camaraderie, creativity, and the importance of culture amongst the community’s kids. We also do not forget our members as they are exposed to the outside realities of the Philippine society as they are given opportunities to interact with the community.”
In charity, lavishing gifts with decorations is not necessary. Sometimes, even the most plain-looking of gifts can garner the biggest grateful reactions. This dumpling-making activity was the biggest example of that, and the kids are sure to remember this event for a long time.
Written by Marella Lozada
Photography by Mark Yu