Monthly Archives: September 2011

Do you know what a Balikbayan Box is?

Do you want to do something good for someone today?  Let me tell you about how you can help.  First let me tell you a story.

For many different reasons the Philippines, is very poor in general.  It is a country of over 80 million people, in an area smaller than the state of Arizona.  About 2-3% of the people are what you would call rich, and another 10% or so would be middle class, leaving over 85% that are poor.  It is not the type of poor that we see here in the US, this is real poverty.  Not knowing where your next meal will come from, not owning any new clothes.  Less than 10% of the population owns a car, only about 20% own a computer.  Millions live in large “squatter” towns which are little more that lumber and some tarps.  Families of 8 or more live in 200 square foot cement shells with a tin roof, and they feel luck to have that.

In most countries people go to school and get educated so that they can do better for their nation, but in the Philippines people go to school so that they can leave and lead a better life in other countries.  Over 4 million people, born in the Philippines, now live and work in the US (Read the source), of these over 80% have become US Citizens.  Across the globe over 20M have left.  But the Filipinos are very hard workers, you need to be just to survive there.  So in the US they are one of the richest groups of immigrants.  Because so many Filipinos earn large amounts of money, and they want to support their families back home they send record amounts of money back home.  The Philippines receives the 4th largest total amount of money, from friends and family abroad.  In 2010 it was 21.3 Billion Dollars, contributing 13.2% of their 161.2 Billion Dollar GDP.

In addition to money they send things.  There are companies all over the world that take boxes, load them on pallets, then load then on cargo containers and ship them to the Philippines where they deliver them directly to the receiver.  These are called Balikbayan boxes.  (The word is Tagalog for “Return Home”.)  These boxes are a blessing to these people who just can’t get ahead in life.  They usually are about 6 cubic feet and can be an unlimited weight, and door to door is about $75, but it takes about 6 weeks.  We like to include clothes, shoes, shampoo and soap, candy, school supplies and such.  Many of these things can be bought on sale here in the US for very cheap, our current box has over $900 worth of stuff, but because most was bought on major clearance sales or back to school sales, or using extreme couponing, we have only spent about $220.

If you would like to help some very deserving people in the Philippines have the basics to live then please consider helping me send more boxes.  We already have one box paid for and almost ready to go, but we would like to send a second box.  I am asking my social networking extended family to help us provide more by donating to us on paypal. Just click here and donate any amount you would like.   The main family we are helping this year lives in a 12×12 foot slat wood “house”, which used to be a chicken coop, with 2 adults and 7 kids, they have a small tin roof that has large holes, and they don’t have very much when it comes to clothes, furniture or anything else.  Because the walls are just slats of wood they have no privacy, and they put up a few sheets to try to gain some.  For each $200 we receive we will send one box.  I know that a lot of my friends could easily send $10 or $20 to help out.

If you donate to me to help send these boxes it is NOT tax deductible.  If you would like to directly send money to help out people in the Philippines and you would like it to be tax deductible please donate to Extreme Mercy International.  Matthew, the one who runs it is a friend, heck I even built their blog/website.  They do a radio show and have an outreach Refuge Youth Center where they hold church services.  You even can set up automatic monthly payments.