Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Relief Drive to Help Typhoon Haiyan Survivors in the Philippines

Image from NBC News
It is day six after the super storm Haiyan almost flattened parts of the Philippines.

There are estimated 10,000 deaths, more than 10 million people have been affected among them 1.5 million children and 4.3 million are now homeless.

It is now day six and despite the international aids coming in, more and more people are begging to be fed. More and more people are suffering from thirst. More and more people are begging to be evacuated to a safer area.

Sadly, many people are also still looking for missing loved ones. Sady, people are slowly dying. Sadly, another storm is coming...adding to the misery of the survivors.

We have been bombarded by news about the typhoon. The images were horrific and unimaginable.

IC class have been receiving the local newspaper daily because of a project have been discussing the Philippines and the typhoon. She has came home so overwhelmed because of the questions thrown at her, which of course, she cannot all answer.

MC meanwhile, came home on Monday saying her friends all rushed to her and asked immediately about the typhoon, if we have relatives in the areas affected, etc.

Both girls experienced typhoon Ondoy back in 2009. I guess, that became their reference. Plus, they also watched the news reports with me.

My mother, who hails from Ilo-ilo (another area affected), still have sisters there. That means, we have relatives there. When asked, my siblings told me that they were okay, which is good news. We just don't know how okay they are though.

I cannot stop crying while watching the news and video images online as I fervently clutched my rosary to pray.

But praying at this time, would not be enough. People are starving. People are screaming for help. I cannot take the desperation I see anymore. I feel so useless with my tears. I needed to do something to help.

After coordinating online about the possibility of shipping donations for free via LBC Foundation and receiving a list of much needed items, I made a draft of my letter in English and asked someone to translate it in German. Yesterday, I printed out around 100 letters.

Around 3 p.m., after the girls finished working on their homeworks, we started going house to house, to ask for donations, for relief goods -- knocking on doors, ringing bells, and slipping letters in mailboxes.

First, the girls talked to our elderly neighbor who accepted the letter and said they would definitely do something.

Second, we found an old man in his garage. He gladly accepted the letter, saying 'he would help because more than 50 years ago, it was Germany who needed help and help came.'

Third, a teacher who glanced shortly at the letter, left for a few seconds and gave the girls 20 Euro.

Then up the hill on the right to slip more letters into mailboxes, then downhill, leaving letters for houses on the left. Back home, I printed another batch of letters because the girls wanted to cover the whole neighbor that same day!

So we left more letters inside mailboxes. Then we saw an old man in his kitchen and we decided to ring the bell, you know, to make it more personal. He opened the door, saw us, and slammed the door on our faces saying, 'I don't have time for you.'

Ouch! That hurt! I didn't say anything but MC declared the man 'impolite' and forgot about him. She continued slipping letters into mailboxes until there's nothing left.

Back home again, MC urged me to print out more letters because she wanted to bring them to school to give to her classmates. Both girls also told me we should walk earlier to school in the morning so we could distribute more letters along the way. We did :-)

Immediate results coming from our letters:

- 20 Euro in cash

- Around 7 p.m., a call from a neighbor who works for a soap factory. He's invited me to check out their warehouse and determine which kind of soaps are needed. We would be going there this afternoon!
body soaps, laundry soaps, shampoos

- Around 8 p.m., our next door neighbor (who called a few minutes after reading the letter asking if we needed all the items right now, to which I responded, a week is enough time to collect) gave me a number of blankets, some pillows, soaps and toothbrushes.
blankets, toiletries, etc.
UPDATED 14:58 :
A neighbor rang the bell and gave me a box of necessities:
wound creams, high energy food, toothpaste, toothbrush, body soaps, bandages
MC's friend just called and informed her that she's sorting out things for donation.

I love my neighbors!

Now, that house who slammed it's door on our faces? I went back that same night while walking the dog and slipped a letter into the mailbox. Who knows? He might change his mind when he read the letter.

Something you need when you decide to collect donations -- a positive attitude!

Here's the list of suggested items for donation:

- high-energy biscuits, ready to eat canned/bottled goods
- sleeping bags, blankets, bed sheets
- toiletries such as sanitary napkins, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, laundry soaps
- basic medicines like biogesic, bioflu, robitussin; including those for surface wounds such as bandages, etc.
- candles and matches
- underwears, too!

I also wrote down names of respected charity groups where they could also donate.

P.S. To those of you who plan to donate clothes, let's help the volunteers by sorting them out and placing labels on them such as for babies, for kids, for men, for women.

Please help. Here are more ways to help: click.

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