The Philippines is a largely Roman Catholic country and Christmas is one of the most important seasons every year. Christmas is so important to Filipinos that it starts as early as September in the form of Christmas decorations and songs in homes and even shopping malls. Needless to say, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting immersed in the holiday wherever you are in the country. Christmas, of course, is a time for sharing and one of the neglected facts of the season is that not everyone can participate. Every Christmas Eve, people on their way home with bags of gifts and food for their family don’t always notice people living on the streets who have no opportunity to know what it’s like to be remembered.
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The Bike Scouts’ Midnight Ride is an annual community ride for volunteers and anybody from the general public who would like to spend Christmas Eve giving back instead of buying more. It’s a radical idea in a country like the Philippines where being at home with family at Christmas is almost like a responsibility. But for the past three years a growing number of people join Bike Scouts volunteer bicycle messengers in riding out at midnight to deliver gifts of food, clothes, toys, and messages of hope for those that need it most. The Midnight Ride also covers expanded activities by Bike Scouts volunteers teams, such as the ones in Caramoan (Bicol) that deliver food for schoolchildren that study in isolated coastal and mountain villages in their area. One of the most important flagship community events of the Bike Scouts, it’s where the commitment to do good and the shift in the mindset of the community from being just pedestrians to human beings that recognize the difficulty of others and the importance of sharing simple things that help people regain their sense of self-worth and self-respect. To be remembered at Christmas is a big deal for anyone, but to be remembered by a complete stranger on Christmas Eve forms a bond between the ones that give and those that receive through an experience that we genuinely hope can spark a little bit of hope, kindness, and a better perspective of the world.
HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE
Everyone is free to join this ride and you don’t even have to be all in the same place to participate! Simply take whatever extra stuff you have in the house on the 24th of December and do a quick ride to give it to somebody who deserves a gift! Don’t forget to take a picture or shoot video and then share it through our Twitter Account or Facebook Page, and don’t forget to include our hashtag for this project #thisiswhyweride when you shoot your pictures and when you post them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
The Midnight Ride project can be as simple as picking up a pack of noodles and going out for a ride to find somebody who needs a good bowl of hot soup. However, it’s always so much more fun to share the stories we experience on our bike rides. Which is why we’ve come up with an easy step-by-step way to do all of this with as little trouble as possible. Here goes…
1. Buy or collect from kind donors new or old clothing, toys, food items or any other thing that can be useful to its recipient. Please make sure that second hand items are clean and in good condition.
2. Wrap items in Christmas paper or any other kind of happy-looking wrapper that makes it look like a present. Don’t forget to include a small note inside the package to let your recipient know that there are still things to hope for in the world.
3. Pack all the presents you’ve wrapped in a bag and then make a cup of hot chocolate, you’ll need energy for the ride.
4. Ride out before midnight on the 24th of December and look for a place where there are people who might be in need of some cheering up. Hand out the presents, bask in the happiness of the moment, take a picture of the big smiles erupting all around you.
5. Ride home, ride safe, enjoy the rest of the evening resting at home. If you can’t help it, upload the pictures from your ride to the Bike Scouts’ Group Page with a short description of your ride (if you want) and don’t forget to tag it with #thisiswhyweride
6. That’s it, you’ve just spent a very meaningful time sharing warmth and kindness with people who need it most. It might not seem like much but as every Bike Scout that has gone on deployment would know, random acts of kindness are a very powerful source of hope and happiness.
7. Enjoy the rest of the holidays while you wait for the launch of the #thisiswhyweride 2015 Bike Scouts “campaign for good” video. Have a great year ahead and always stay safe!
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Make sure you DOWNLOAD the Goozam emergency response app for the Midnight Ride for an extra layer of safety while we ride! Goozam is a supplemental first response mobile app and server infrastructure for “Geovolunteers.” Goozam works by providing users with the ability to send out an emergency call with just one button, the call is sent out to everyone who has the app within a one mile radius of the person who needs help.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We are looking for old or new clothing, toys, and food items that we can include in the gift packages. Please send us a note through bikescoutsph[a]gmail.com or the Bike Scouts Facebook Group if you’re interested in helping out.