BENCH Changes Lives by Supporting the Mission Possible Project

Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and the Bench family have joined forces to uplift the lives of Typhoon Yolanda victims in the 4th District of Leyte through 6200: The Mission Possible Project. The project aims to elevate relief efforts by providing motorized boats (bancas) to fishermen affected by the super typhoon. Restoring livelihood decreases dependency and empowers fishermen and their families to rebuild their lives by standing on their own two feet. This approach to assistance by promoting self-sufficiency is Lucy’s long-term advocacy which Bench supports whole-heartedly. The country’s top retail brand is focused on donating a total of 200 bancas this 2014.

The campaign will be launched at the Ayala Fairview Terraces Mall on March 2, 2014. Bench family stars Kim Chiu, Karylle, Jeric and Jeron Teng, Enchong Dee, Joseph Marco, Lovi Poe, singer Rachelle Ann Go and Markki Stroem joined Lucy and Richard Gomez together with the Bench executives on this momentous event.

The main stage echoed a sea pier-inspired setting. Special performances kicked-off the event and led to the main reveal: the revelation of a boat (banca) which symbolizes the goal of the entire campaign. Simultaneous with this revelation were revelations of boats in malls such as Glorietta 2, and Alabang Town Center.

“The fishing sector has always been one of the most impoverished, and Yolanda has cemented that fact even more,” Lucy says. “The District I represent has 5 coastal areas and there are 6,200 fishermen whose boats were damaged. Yes, we are in a crisis, but I do not want the people to get used to a culture that is dependent on dole-outs. They have to be empowered, and the fastest and most logical way of doing that is to restore their livelihood—allowing them to once again earn decently by the work of their hands. That is a gift on so many levels,” she adds.

Beneficiaries of this project include the fishermen of Ormoc City and the nearby municipalities of the 4th District of Leyte (Albuera, Merida, Isabel, and Palompon). As a supplement to the government’s own programs, this independent relief effort seeks to allocate funds to construct boats with a finished fiberglass hull, a Honda-brand engine, and accessories such as a propeller, brass pipe, rudder, steel shaft, and cross-joint bolts, nuts, and rings. Reminiscent of the symbol of Bench’s early beginnings as a brand (flashback to the first Bench commercial with Richard Gomez rowing the iconic boat), the Bench banca seeks to promote this time around represents a tool that can help Yolanda victims rise and become self-sufficient. It becomes a tool that will transform them from victims to citizens that can sail into the future, armed with a livelihood that will last them many years.

“Soldier on, keep the faith. God holds us all in the palm of His hands,” is Lucy’s message to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. What started out as a small dream is now becoming a bigger reality with increasing participation from the private sector.

Like Bench and Lucy, you too can help make a difference. Donors can sponsor a boat and name it after their company or loved ones. A team of artist volunteers add creativity to each piece with colorful designs that echo a unique story. With help from kind hearts, hope will float and devastated villages shall rise again. To learn more about how you can be part of this endeavor visit www.rebuildormoc.com.

As loyal Bench shoppers, you can also get involved. For every Php500 purchased at all company-owned Bench, Herbench, Superbench, Bench Tweeners, Bench Tofu and Bench Body stores, Php5 will be donated to the 6200: Misson Possible Project through KIDS (Kabataan Iwas Droga sa tulong ng Sports) Foundation from February 1 to April 30, 2014.

Photos by photographer Jake Versoza.





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