Gifts of love: Spreading the true reason for the season like the late President George H.W. Bush

AMID all the negative vibes from transgressions made by elected and appointed officials — despite being accorded the public trust through their post in public service — it sure feels good to read a story so close to home about the goodness of people.

This holiday season, one of those stories that I have posted on social media that has been shared by my family, friends and followers involves a poor Filipino boy from the Motherland who had the privilege of feeling the gift of love from across the Pacific, coming from no less than the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

CNN broke this story about the 41st president who sponsored a then 7-year-old boy in the Philippines for 10 years using a pseudonym or alias “G.Walker” to protect the kid.

Through Compassion International, a nonprofit organization that uses local churches to help children in poor communities around the world, Bush sponsored a boy named Timothy.

According to CNN, the former president sent funds that went toward Timothy’s education, extracurricular activities and some of his meals. But the late president gave more than money. He actually sent handwritten letters to Timothy to share messages of love and hope, even gifts like an art set.

The CNN report narrated how Bush first got the idea to sponsor a child in 2001 when he attended a Christmas concert in Washington.

“Because the musicians were mostly Christian, they believed in our mission,” Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International told CNN. During intermission, “they would tell the audience about us, and ask them if they would like to sponsor a child,” he said.

“All of the sudden, Mr. Bush, who was sitting only a few rows back and surrounded by security, raised his hand and asked for a pamphlet.”

One such letter was the first Press. Bush sent to Timothy was his first letter once the sponsorship began. CNN published this January 24, 2002:

“Dear Timothy,

I want to be your new pen pal.

I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already.

I live in Texas – I will write you from time to time – Good Luck. G. Walker”

The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast “Balitang America” reported on Friday, December 21, that the little boy Timothy, whose full name is Timothy Villalba, is now a 25-year old Barangay Manager who is now married and with a young daughter.

Timothy did not know his sponsor was, in fact, the former president until his graduation.

He intimated that as a young boy, he really did not understand the letters well (all written in English) but was happy to get the handwritten letters. He said Bush inspired him to do well in school while easing his poor family’s burdens. The art set given to him as a gift even sparked his creative side which paved the way to his moonlighting as a musician.

Such a sweet selfless way to speed love exemplified by the late president.

WE, TOO, can share that gift of love by helping poor children back home through ABS-CBN Foundation’s “Gifts of Love” program. Here is the letter:

Dearest Kapamilya,
Your gift of love will provide a child with nutritious meals for one month, school supplies, and new shoes for just $30. These are necessities that are easily taken for granted, but are so crucial in ensuring proper child development, with regards to both health and learning.

The communities that are selected are communities where we have established programs and relationships, or those that have contacted us seeking support.

Our campaign was born out of two of our current projects, our supplementary feeding program and #gustokomagaral (I want to learn) initiative. While we had initially wanted to raise funds for holiday gifts for children in the Philippines, we recognized that because of the level of poverty present in the Philippines, making sure food and school supplies were available to children needed to come first.

Our goal is to raise enough donations to support two different projects serving 1,000 children each. That would be 2,000 individuals donating $30 each, to reach a total of $50,000.

We are confident that with your generosity, we can make and even exceed this goal!

Happy Holidays,
Your ABS CBN International Foundation Family (AFI Family)

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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