Employees at Hyatt Regency Saipan will make Christmas brighter for the children at Guma Esperanza with their toy donations for this year's Toys for Tots program.
A total of 82 wrapped gifts for children ages 2 months to 17 years old were presented by the Hyatt staff to the CNMI's shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in a brief ceremony at the hotel lobby yesterday afternoon.
Denise Montenegro, Hyatt training manager, said in an interview that they received from Guma Esperanza a list of the gender and ages of children at the shelter. Employees started bringing toys right after Thanksgiving, Montenegro said, with some employees donating more than one toy to ensure that all children at the shelter will receive a gift this Christmas.
“It's a great initiative for the employees to have a chance to do something meaningful,” she said.
Montenegro even involves her own children in getting and wrapping the toys every year, making them realize that there is always someone from the community who is in need and instilling in them at an early age the spirit of giving.
“Christmas is not just the season of giving but also of hope. Everybody should have hope even though times are tough. When you have hope, anything is possible,” added the mother of two.
Josephine Mesta, Hyatt human resources director, thanked the generosity of all hotel personnel who participated in the annual toy drive.
“This is what Hyatt symbolizes, taking care of the community that we are a part of and giving back to them the support they have extended to us,” Mesta told Saipan Tribune.
She said the community of Saipan should also be grateful to God that it is not experiencing the horrors and grief that Newtown, Connecticut is going through following a shooting incident that left 27 people dead.
“We hope that the children at Guma Esperanza will continue to receive love and care from our small island,” added Mesta.
Shelter manager Lauri B. Ogumoro expressed her appreciation to Hyatt Regency Saipan, which has teamed up with them for many years in support of the toy drive.
“It's our pleasure to be able to work with them and their spirit of giving for the women and children at Guma Esperanza,” Ogumoro said, adding that the toys will be distributed to the beneficiaries within the week in time for Christmas Day on Dec. 25.