(Published in SunStar Davao, May 2015)
Sonshineland once again transformed dramatically into a Disneyland as Children’s Joy Foundation Inc.’s (CJFI) Founding President Pastor Apollo Quiboloy celebrates his birthday along with thousands of children in the city. Now on its 10th successful year, the whole day event is dedicated to indigent and destitute children who are treated to a birthday bash like no other.
The Jose Maria College campus was again converted into a spectacular haven for kids and parents. The visually colorful Disney-themed environment offered children from all walks of life a magical moment that brought joy on their faces: free rides on a ferris wheel, entertainment area, wonderful toys, games and food abundant all day long.
Pastor Apollo Quiboloy has been celebrating his birthday with the children for years in the 18-hectare compound of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in Catitipan, beside Davao’s International Airport. His stalwart advocacy of feeding and educating the children has been in the forefront of his ministry for years.
“Sonshine Across the Land” or Sonshineland is a grand celebration unmatched, providing children with a delightful concoction of food, candies, cakes, balloons, ice cream, presents and a host of popular cartoon and fairytale characters and superheroes during the colorful street parade at the opening program.
Established in 1998, thousands have now benefited from CJFI’s scholarships, residential care and other projects. A component under Pastor’s many programs for underprivileged children, it also includes building children’s shelters in several regions, feeding thousands across the country, giving away school supplies, clothing, medicines, as well as medical and dental programs. CJF’s campaign is to “Feed, Clothe and Send to School One Million Filipino Children” (www.childrensjoyfoundation.org).
The center became the temporary home for these children of hard up families because of poverty. Few years later, the service expanded through community-based programs all over the Philippines. Children’s Joy Foundation also worked with the communities in remote areas to provide assistance in the care of construction and operations. Livelihood projects were also extended to beneficiaries’ parent to support their means of living.