A campaign to help raise funds and donations in kind for national athletes, both regular and the differently-abled ones, and dubbed “Ayuda sa Atleta” was launched recently as an initiative of the private sector to help them in these difficult times of the pandemic.
Triathlon president and former Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Tom Carrasco and veteran sports journalist and management consultant Lito Cinco, who wrote about the need for a community pantry of assistance to national athletes in his Manila Standard column “The Bottom Line” last April 21, co-lead the group.
Joining them are sepak takraw president and POC official Karen Tanchanco Caballero, sports science figure and former national archer Nino Sinco and sportsman/sports patron Alex Wang of Wang’s Ballclub.
The group is tasked to plan and manage the program, from raising funds all the way to distribution of the assistance to the recipients, initially with the differently-abled athletes who are more in need.
“We know we cannot cover the total 1,500 number of national athletes and coaches, that is why decided to start off with the differently-abled ones. We are in touch with PHILSPADA to get the complete roster,” said Carrasco.
“We have categorized the assistance in the form of vitamins, sports drinks, energy bars and personal hygiene items for those who would like to give in kind. Fortunately, Cebuana Lhuillier President/CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, himself a sports man and long time supporter of Philippine sports, has jumpstarted the program with a P250,000 donation. We hope other sports-loving companies and individuals will follow his lead. Our national athletes who have brought us honor certainly deserve to be helped during this pandemic,” added Carrasco, whose company, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines also donated P25,000 to the cause.
Cinco, who has been involved in projects for the needy, including current community pantries in Mandaluyong, said: “I was inspired by what I have seen about this community program that has grown all over and I thought, why not initiate one for athletes, and wrote about it .The following day after my column came out, I got a call from Cebuana Lhuillier pledging assistance. I was not really surprised about the help extended as I have known Jean Henri as sports patron for a long time,” said Cinco.
Solicitation letters will be sent to various companies and individuals for cash and in kind donations, with the group promising transparency for all funds received and expenses made.
“Our target is to start the distribution to athletes by June to give us time to raise more donations so we can cover more athletes,” concluded Carrasco.