Friday, January 02 2009 @ 11:44 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
"It's a wonderful joint venture."
Their short speeches were followed by messages of thanks from the charity leaders and a night of Christmas carols and dancing for the patients of the children's hospital.
The group visited the Embera indigenous people later in the week. As the group hiked up the Chagres River, Gonzalo, who has made annual trips to bring gifts to the Indians for years, explained that the act of giving is as important for givers as it is for those who received the gifts.
"At Templar, we know the power of giving," Gonzalo said. "We want our good fortunes in life and in business to flow and touch as many people as possible. Helping kids at Christmastime is the perfect opportunity to share with others less fortunate."
Gifts included toys for young boys and girls along with soccer and basketballs.
Christmas dinner in Chichivali
On December 25, about 80 of residents Chichivali, a small community near El Valle de Anton, gathered for a Christmas dinner.
"Many of these families wouldn't have had a Christmas dinner," said Guillermo Alveo, the Templar employee who organized and hosted the meal at his family home, as he helped serve up the food on Christmas Day.
"We wanted to help. We could have just donated food, but we felt it was important to deliver it today so that these people got to have their holiday meal at the same time as the rest of the world."
The dinner included traditional Christmas food for the town's families along with gifts of toys and balls for the children.
Sports equipment for Panama City's youth
When Templar's donation of 440 soccer and basketballs exceeded demand from local charities this year, real estate agent Carlos Vaquero saw an opportunity to bring giving right to the street.
On Christmas day, Carlos and several other Templar employees passed out balls in some of Panama City's neediest neighborhoods.
"We just got in the truck and drove around," Carlos said. "People were totally amazed when we shouted "Hey, merry Christmas!" and tossed them a ball."
An emerging tradition
Both Gonzalo and Martin said they hoped to make Templar's gift giving an annual tradition.
"Templar is new in town, and we feel the need to help where we can," Gonzalo said. "I just hope we can do more for our community next Christmas."
For more information on Templar Panama's community activities, please email Gonzalo De La Guardia, President, at gonzalo(at)templarpanama.com.