The Three Wise Men are... five

Missionary gift is the initiative of five friends who, for a period of time, become unique Wise Men to bring gifts to hospitals, shelters and homes for the elderly. Thanks to the help of dozens of individuals and companies, the gifts distributed number in the thousands and they hope to reach even more people. 

Arsenio Fernández de Mesa-January 6, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

It's Christmas, the season of gifts. While many people wake up in their homes on Three Kings' Day and open the presents from the East, not a few are left without savoring the delights of that magical day. 

The project Missionary gift seeks to ensure that those who usually have nothing to unwrap receive gifts and can thus feel some of that Christmas spirit, because those who receive a gift feel that someone loves them: 4,000 gifts have been given out! 

I sit down for a coffee with Laura, María, Bea, Aída and Antonio, five friends who are becoming ever closer thanks to the parish faith group in which they participate. Undoubtedly this desire to treat God and make him known has contributed to the intense work for this beautiful initiative that brings joy to so many people. 

At first they thought only of children, but thanks to a friend of mine, who works at CaritasThey realized that all ages are excited to receive gifts. 

María tells me that this project started during the Covid period and has grown exponentially: "we started with 16 beneficiary centers and now we are at 60. Of the individual beneficiaries most are children but there are many elderly.". They included residences for people with few resources, but they also have some hospital, palliative care centers or shelters: "all comes from donations, both from individuals and companies". They campaigned since mid-November with many posters. They publicized it in networks, states of whatsapp and groups of friends. Also by the parishes. People bring them gifts, used things, but it is essential that they are kept in good condition. Their motto is that if it's not good enough for me, it's not good enough for anyone. Many people also give cash donations. Companies, stores or department stores make numerous donations of their products. Some stores, for example, delivered boxes full of scarves. The outpouring of generosity has been impressive. 

The five They are in charge of this adventure, receiving donations, contacting the centers to find out how many residents there are, what they would like to receive or on what dates the gifts would be best for them: "We are always looking for the best time to receive them.We would love to receive, for example, seventy scarves, as happened on one occasion. 

Filter materials. They sort gifts by age. Then they land the volunteers, who wrap throughout the weekends: "We made forms for people to sign up so we could distribute the shifts, from ten to two and from four to eight. We had a group of 60 volunteers in a single morning, of all ages, packing gifts. They are groups of all kinds: high school, scouts, adults, elderly ladies, strangers... In total we have been almost 400 volunteers in all the weekends". They are asked if they have the availability of a car or van to deliver and are assigned a center. 

"Packages for us?" nuns tell of the great surprise and disbelief of the residents, who were not expecting anything. This beautiful initiative has been accompanied by many coincidenceswhich they attribute to providence. A friend of Laura's, when she told her about the project, confessed that she had asked her friends not to give her anything for her birthday this year, but to give her money so that she could donate it to whoever needed it: "and when I was looking for someone to give it to, you showed up!". 

Christmas is different when you stop navel gazing: there is so much to do! The creativity, enthusiasm and generous sacrifice of these five friends has brought joy to so many who were going to be left without gifts.

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