|Furey Santa Sachin Mahajan (right) joined volunteers at Hongik Child Welfare Center Photo courtesy Hongik Center
[To donate to Furey over the holiday season please send donations to the following bank account: Jeju Bank Acc# 39-02-142167. Account Holder: TROYMACLELLAN. See here for more info.]
Furey events have become an integral part of the Jeju calendar and this Christmas saw the foundation chalk up another successful campaign as a donation drive for Jeju’s children saw 6,500,000 Won raised for four orphanages across the island.
270 children received gifts from ‘Furey Santas’ at four orphanages on Christmas Day and volunteers spent the day at two of the centers, celebrating with the children. Gifts included board games and clothing and, most importantly, the children were able to enjoy a day of fun and activities to mark the festive season.
One Furey Santa for the day was long-term resident Sachin Mahajan, from Chicago, USA., who visited the Hongik Child Welfare Center in Samyang, Jeju City. He said the day embodied what was great about the Christmas spirit and giving to those in need.
“It was especially moving for me to be Santa for the day. Seeing the looks of joy on the kids’ faces when they came up to receive their gifts is something I will not soon forget...I know we were there to brighten the holiday for the children, but I think we left feeling just as overjoyed,” said Mahajan. “It felt great to be able to give something back to the local commu-nity, especially around the holiday season. Christmas is a time for giving, after all,” he added.
March will see Jeju Furey mark its fourth year of fundraising for Jeju families and Mahajan is clear that it has come to be a unique bridge between the local and international community on Jeju.
“Furey has done so many amazing things for the local residents. I feel very fortunate to be a small part of all the love and kindness that Furey brings to both the local and foreigner communities. It’s what makes Jeju special and why I know I will always be proud to call it home,” said Mahajan.
The event was organized by Canadian Jeju resident, Troy MacLellan, who took the Furey reins for the donation drive. MacLellan said he knew he could count on the generosity of the Jeju community.
“Time and time again, we see how the Jeju Island community feels about giving back. But it is more than that. It is also the people that used to live here and their families and friends who also give. We received donations from friends of friends, and aunts and uncles and cousins, people who have never stepped foot on the island,” MacLellan said.
The Director of Hongik Child Welfare Center, Kim Sun Sil, was clear about what the show of support means for the island’s orphans.
“The children were very happy and excited about the visit, especially as they could ask for their gifts in advance,” Kim said. “These children have few chances to go out shopping or dining during the holidays and often feel lonely. That’s why having a good time with the children is very important on such a special day,” she added.
Although many volunteers visit the orphanages throughout the year, this was only the second time such an organized event had been held under the Furey banner. MacLellan said that the foundation is always on the lookout for worthy causes to support.
“It began with Nathan’s sons and then evolved to include the Iho and Nohyeong families. The orphanage event began last Christmas with Dan Nabben, Furey founder, Julie Kertesz, Dan Quick, Susan Shain, Andrea Johnsen and Andrea Bluteau going to the Hongik Center, but this year we decided to make it bigger,” said MacLellan.
Bigger it certainly was, so much so that the donation target was met and comfortably exceeded.
“We decided that every child and the two [regular] families would get a gift for Christmas. In the end, we accomplished what we set out to do and ended up with 54 extra donations. It was truly amazing the way everyone came together to make it happen in just three short weeks,” he added.
The Furey Foundation was founded in 2009 after Jeju-resident Nathan Furey, married father of two, lost his fight against sudden illness. His friends, led by Dan Nabben, banded together to provide an education fund for his two boys, Juno and Noah. Once this goal had been met, the energy of the movement meant that further beneficiaries were sought and the foundation went on to run a series of participative fundraising events.
By participating in Jeju Furey events, or purchasing apparel or merchandise, supporters are able to contribute towards a sustainable standard of living for the beneficiaries of The Furey Foundation. For more information, or to get involved in future events, please visit: http://jejufurey.weebly.com/