We are living in an era of fast-paced change – a time where convenience and efficiency are among the most important concerns of people; time has been, and will always be, gold. It should be spent on productive endeavors, on efforts which truly matter and are meaningful.

But sometimes, we commit the mistake of limiting our productive efforts to work in the office or at school and sometimes, as we are lost in our 8 to 5 (and even beyond) shifts, we lose grasp of other concerns in this world which will matter. No matter the era, actually being there and showing up to help with our very own hands does matter.

Last September 23, at the Philippine International Convention Center Forum, the Hands On Manila (HOM) foundation provided 23 corporate companies a chance to help out and devote time to volunteering for different causes at “Servathon 2016″ (Servathon).

Servathon, now on its 11th year, has been gathering corporate volunteers to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism. This year, these companies and 250 other HOM volunteers contributed their valuable time and efforts to help out in a diverse range of causes, – from public health issues to illnesses of the elderly, – all in one morning and all in one venue.

“This is the first time that a Servathon event has gathered all its corporate volunteers under one roof to do a marathon of service oriented activities”, said Lizette Cojuangco, co-chair of Servathon 2016. In the past, Servathon had corporate groups scattered, simultaneously doing their volunteer work in different locations“.

For some years, harsh typhoon weather and traffic in the city became obstacles in the annual volunteering event. This prompted HOM to disrupt the Servathon model without sacrificing the quality of sincere, relevant, and genuine volunteerism.

It was a Saturday morning of smiles, hearty laughter, and healthy competition, and there was no sight of the “It’s a Saturday morning and I should be sleeping in” grogginess. It was an uplifting and very gratifying atmosphere.

This year’s Servathon co-headed by Lizette Cojuangco and Patrice Tan saw the mass production of seven helpful inventions and crafts, specifically: 450 solar lights, 450 mosquito traps, 420 citronella candles, 500 disaster kits, 300 fidget lap blankets, 500 pairs of slippers, and 120 newspaper eco-bags. All of these will be distributed to the various communities, foundations, and social enterprises that HOM supports.

This year also marks HOM 15th year. It has been involved in 1,000 projects and has worked with over 21,000 volunteers, including 76 non-governmental organizations.
With almost 3,000 items produced and a cumulative 8,020 volunteers hours in just one morning, Servathon is a testament to the timeless value of volunteering, despite the fast-paced lifestyles and hectic corporate schedules of today. Giving time to help out will always be of primary importance.

One could have all the time in the world and one could spend all of that time as he or she pleases, but once given the chance to help others and serve, one will enjoy helping make a positive impact to those around him or her.

After all, if there is a singular purpose in all of our divergent lives, it must be to help make every tomorrow better than yesterday. As Atty. Gianna Montinola, president of HOM said on that Saturday morning: “As volunteers, you are willing to lose yourself in the service of others to make the world a better place.”