Steve Anderson and his Filipina wife Chelena have visited various parts of Philippines five times in the past from their home in Tampa, Florida. Steve knows how rough many people have it there. “I do not stay at the tourist hotels,” he says.
Expatriate Filipinos have been sending their families “balikbayan” boxes for decades. In fact the word “balikbayan” is Tagalog for “expatriate”. The boxes typically contain household goods and the like but Steve and Chelena have been sending food and books for the needy.
But that just wasn’t good enough for Steve. He came up with a better idea. After he contacted Maya she referred him to Leila Fernando Tolosa who’s been the administrator/ program coordinator of Bethlehem House of Bread Orphanage for more than a decade. (In other words she runs the place.)
Steve’s idea was simple. Instead of shipping books all the way from the US, why not find a publisher right in the Philippines? Well he did even better than that. Adarna House, located in Quezon City, publishes books for young readers in both English and Tagalog. And one of their retailers, Lazada, offers free delivery throughout the Philippines.
Bethlehem House cares for 80 children, from infants to 12 years old. For his first donation Steve bought and had shipped 10 second-grade level books to the orphanage. And just to make sure the kids get some exercise after their studying, he included a basketball with the order. Leila says that along with volleyball, basketball is the children’s favorite sport.
Thanks to the kindness and cleverness of the couple from Florida Bethlehem’s “cutie-pies,” as Maya likes to call them, are already enjoying their new books and basketball.
Leila says, “We truly believe the Lord sends Angels to fill the kids’ hearts with much love and compassion. We are truly blessed!”
Thank you Steve and Chelena Anderson.
Note: If you’d like follow Steve and Chelena’s example you’ll need Bethlehem’s full address and phone number for delivery purposes:
BETHLEHEM HOUSE OF BREAD
0709 Naning Viceo St.
Little Baguio, Baliuag, Bulacan 3006
Tel No.: 044-7664977
— Tom Wrona