What Can We Do to Help Our Yolanda Victims?

Help is finally on the way. Systems have started working, and the pressure to produce results is putting more sense of urgency on everyone’s minds. The arrival of support by way of personnel, equipment and goods have provided a big boost in our ability to help the victims of Yolanda (international code: Haiyan). More and more feel-good stories are filtering out, as everyone pitch in their 2-cents worth, from everywhere and anywhere in the country and across the world.

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We’ve heard of the 6-year old Japanese kid, Shoichi Kondo, who donated his lifetime savings to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, upon hearing the sad news and seeing the horrifying videos of the carnage in Leyte.

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We’ve heard of a thousand-and-one organizations and individuals raising money and support for families and friends who were affected by Yolanda.

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We take inspiration from their magnanimity; and from the small boy, Shoichi.  Their acts of kindness somehow make our burden light. And we reflect on how we as ordinary citizens can help – using our individual talents – to bring food, vital supplies, and hope for our people in Samar, Leyte and all the other damaged areas.  Here are some very laudable efforts. We hope that these noble gestures will inspire your creative minds to look for ways to make a little difference, so that Yolanda’s victims may see fresh rays of hope in the horizon.

A kind-hearted blogger, Peter Cauton, came up with an idea to “Stop Christmas Shopping” in his JuanGreatLeap blogsite. In his scheme, he calls for people to donate to the Yolanda fund drive in lieu of buying presents for loved ones. Donors can send cards specifying that a donation in their name has been given to whatever Yolanda fund-raiser you may want to use. They can also urge their friends to do the same. Perhaps the organizations accepting the donation can come up with that acknowledgement letter of thanks. It will say something to the effect that “We would like to thank you for the donation of (amount) which was given by (name of donor) in your behalf. For more on this idea, please read:  http://juangreatleap.com/2013/11/11/stop-christmas-shopping-and-other-different-ideas-you-can-do-to-help-typhoon-yolanda-victims/.

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There’s the ‘Sayaw Mo, Tulong Mo!’ Dance Jam For A Cause! last Thursday, November 14. Hosted by Hip Hop International Philippines, Big Shift Creative Central, Move Manila and Nesh J UDCA (Unity In The Dance Community Advocacy), the dance event’s proceeds will go to the Yolanda Fund Drive.

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Local skaters came out with a “Bente – Bente for a Cause” Skating event. FB’er Francis Jimenez states: “stoked na tayo, nakatulong pa!”

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Even on-line stores are coughing up 15 to 20% of purchases for donation to the Typhoon Yolanda fund drive.

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At the Wild Side Tattoo and Bar, tattoos will be given for free in the ‘Tattoo Marathon Benefit Event’ for donors to the Yolanda Fund Drive. There’s also a call for other tattoo artists to participate.

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In Serendra, there’s a pizza-pasta Italian ristoranti named Balducci. If you want to help the survivors of Yolanda and you’re fond of Italian cuisine, Balducci is going to donate 20% of its gross sales on Nov 16-17 to the Philippine Red Cross.

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The volleyball community is also doing its share with a #VolleyballCommunityGivesBack Jersey Auction. This is a non-profit project that aims to raise money from a friendly auction of past and present volleyball stars’ jerseys, proceeds of which will go directly to the Philippine Red Cross. Modess is one of the partners of the women’s volleyball community in this laudable project.

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Rappler came out with an effort to help the telecom companies map cell signals affected by Yolanda. This will help Smart and Globe in their disaster response assistance to the government.

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The MMDA recently came up with an “Adopt-A-Town” Program. Under this program, MMDA devised a system assigning Yolanda-devastated localities to be adopted by Metro Manila local government units. Here is the list:

  • Quezon City – Palompon and Tolosa, Santa Fe (Leyte)
  • Pasig City – Mayorga, Palo (Leyte), Barotac Viejo, Barotac Nuevo, Dumangas (Iloilo)
  • Mandaluyong City – Isabel and Tanauan (Leyte)
  • Marikina City – Hernani and Lorente (Eastern Samar)
  • San Juan – Ormoc City and Albuera (Leyte)
  • Taguig City – Gen McArthur, Guiuan, Salcedo, Mercedes and Quinapondan (Eastern Samar)
  • Las Piñas City – Julita and Dulag (Leyte)
  • Caloocan City – Javier, McArthur, La Paz (Leyte)
  • Malabon City – Bogo (Cebu)
  • Navotas City – Lawaan and Giporlos (Eastern Samar)
  • Valenzuela City – Basey and Marabut (Eastern Samar)

These are just some of the many initiatives being taken. From ordinary people to small organizations to big companies to government agencies, it is heartwarming to know that there is no shortage of love and care for our brothers who have lost practically everything and will have to start anew. People who have lost their homes as well as their family members. People who have despaired over the seeming lack of support during the past few days. People who have been numbed and whose eyes can no longer shed tears.

Today, as the sun shines bright in Tacloban and elsewhere, we see that gratified look as relief start to trickle in. But relief work isn’t over yet. There is still so much that needs to be done.

What about you? Have you done your share to help the victims of Yolanda? What innovative ways can you think of to assuage the suffering and the pain? Do give us your suggestions.

For more stories on Super-Typhoon Yolanda, pls visit:

(Photos courtesy of abs-cbn, rappler.com, paf)

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