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Expats run gift drive for local orphanages

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Published : 2016-12-06 18:37
Updated : 2016-12-06 18:37

Expats in Gwangju are running a gift donation drive to brighten up Christmas for children at local orphanages.

The “Adopt-a-Child for Christmas” campaign is now in its seventh year, and the community is seeking donations to top up the money it has raised from its other activities this year.

“We’ve been fundraising for the past few months now, the events so far have included a date auction, a raffle for Kia Tigers autographed baseballs generously donated by Brett Pill, a scavenger hunt and a murder mystery (night),” said Rob Smith, who is helping with the campaign.

“Last year we covered around 350 kids, but this year we are scaling back our numbers a bit to focus more on quality rather than quantity,” he said. “Our initial goal is to cover four orphanages and 224 kids, although we hope to reach that target and expand to other orphanages.”

The Adopt-a-Child for Christmas campaign was started in 2010 by Gwangju expat Al Barnum to help girls at Sungbin Orphanage enjoy the holiday.

This year, a team of 15 volunteers, led by Sarah Hale, will use donations to buy presents for children at two local children’s centers and host Christmas parties for the kids there.

Those who wish to give can donate money directly through www.adoptachildgwangju.org. They can also buy gifts directly for the children, up to a maximum spend of 30,000 won ($26) per child.

In the past, some families from outside the city have gotten involved, buying presents for the appeal with their own children.

The deadline for donations is Dec. 14.

Organizers will then hold big Christmas parties on Dec. 17th -- one at Sungbin and the other at Ilmaek Boys Orphanage.

Smith explained that any leftover money would be saved for next year or put toward diapers and formula at local infants’ centers.

By Paul Kerry (paulkerry@heraldcorp.com)