By HECTOR PASCUA, Vienna, Austria
ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
Wilson Tanho, a Filipino employee in the United Nations in Vienna celebrated Christmas in a very unique way.
Instead of putting a part of his earnings during the past year into some other things, he chose to gather his resources in order to feed the homeless people in Vienna.
On Christmas Eve, Wilson, together with Lorna Titgemeyer, Minni Langer and Mila Leutner, all Pinoy volunteers – took time to prepare the ingredients needed for the charity work.
Almost 200 homeless, most of them men, waited patiently for the exotic food that the Pinoys prepared. Wilson cooked pansit (noodles), fried rice and fried chicken.
Wilson has already been doing this charity work for the past 4 years.
Wilson commented: "Six years ago, pagkatapos ng Christmas party namin sa bahay, napansin ko na napakaraming sobrang pagkain (after our Christmas party, I noticed we had a lot of left-overs). I thought of bringing these to the train station, where the "sandler" (homeless) are staying. Afterwards, I learned that there is a CARITAS House in Vienna, where homeless could temporarily stay."
Wilson did not only cook for the homeless. He was able to gather from generous donors Christmas presents for them, too. Packs of cigarettes, soaps, shampoos, tissue papers, chocolates, toothbrush and toothpaste and other necessities were distributed to the delight of the homeless.
Wilson added: "In addition to foods, we are also giving these people some gifts, kasi wala naman silang pamilya na magbigay sa kanila ng regalo (since they no family who would give them gifts). At least through these little and simple gifts, ay mabubuksan silang regalo today or this Christmas (they will open gifts today or this Christmas)."
Lorna Titgemeyer, the Chairman of the Council of Filipino Associations in Austria started her first year of working for the charity effort.
She said: "Indeed, it is very easy to contribute material things. Though I am very much convinced that when one contributes time and effort, the worth is much more. That is why, when Wilson asked me to help him, I immediately answered him yes."
The homeless beneficiaries were very much grateful for the time and effort given by the Filipinos. They appreciated very much their willingness and dedication to help even though they are immigrants here.
One positive remark from a homeless: "Personally, find it very good that the Filipinos are doing this. I am very grateful that such people, though immigrants here in Austria are doing something for a good cause."
This charitable action initiated by Wilson five years ago has become a tradition for him. He regards these people his family, in a sense that he himself has no home and family here. He said he was just lucky enough to obtain a good job at the UN and could do something worthwhile for the homeless.
Wilson said, "I do this as my personal commitment. Christmas is about giving or sharing. Now, I don’t have my family here, so I also said to my friends, I want to celebrate Christmas with those people with no families at all, like me. So I spend Christmas with the homeless as well."