Spreading Yuletide joy

Bangkok Vanguards' Santa Cause project is collecting gifts and donations from the public at the big Christmas tree outside CentralWorld from today until Thursday from 6-9pm.

They also need volunteers to help wrap gifts on Saturday and Sunday at 9am, and drop them to families in slums. On both days the "Christmas mob" will gather at a central location and be divided into various teams.

Each team leader dresses as Santa Clause and is supported by a platoon of 10-15 elves and reindeer or volunteers wearing Christmas hats. The teams are given plenty of gifts, ideas for activities and directions to the assigned community and then depart at 10.30am.

Last year Santa Cause brought gifts, smiles and lots of positive energy to 1,000 children and their families in over 20 slum communities in Bangkok. And this year the project hopes to reach 2,000 children and their families in over 30 slums.

So far, Santa Cause have mapped over 120 potential low-income communities to which they would like to send volunteer Santa, elf and reindeer platoons and the more support they get, the more children they can reach.

Everyone is invited to help raise donations among their friends, colleagues and relatives (cash donations and/or gifts) so that Santa Cause can finance logistics and buy gifts (toys, clothes and stationery) for the children.

Santa Cause was initiated in Christmas 2011 as a response to the flood crisis. Bangkok Vanguard volunteers decided to reach into flood-affected slum communities to bring Christmas gifts and seasonal cheer to the people there. The response was immensely positive among the people as well as the volunteers and an annual campaign was born.

The 2012 Santa Cause event will start by the big Christmas tree in front of CentralWorld at 9am on Saturday and Sunday. Gifts and cash donations can also be handed to the team in person at the same venue from today until Thursday from 6-9pm. Call 085-833-9218, 086-984-5135 and 080-070-4390. Visit www.facebook.com/SantaCauseBangkok.