More local donations pour in for Yolanda survivors
By Beatrice S. Paez
Fundraising relief efforts across the GTA for the people caught in areas struck by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) are still going strong.
It’s been a month since the storm claimed 5,680 lives and stripped people of their homes with its devastating force, but the Philippines remains on the minds of many Canadians.
Aid organizations, churches and ordinary citizens alike have pitched in to sustain the drive to collect donations bound for the disaster-affected communities.
For its part, the Canadian government has extended the initial deadline for its pledge to match donations dollar for dollar, from Dec. 23 to Dec. 9.
Hard Rock event to raise $3K
A young Chinese-Canadian woman was inspired by a like-minded friend to organize her own relief event, which took place on Dec. 4 and featured local musicians. “I was thinking maybe I could try to connect with some friends and see what I could do,” said Donata Ling.
Ling initially ran into some obstacles in trying to get sponsors on board. In the end, she struck a deal with Hard Rock Café and ISX Canada, a travel agency for international students, which would allow her to donate the proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross. Tickets will be sold at $10 each and they expect to draw out between 150-200 people and will hopefully raise about $3,000.
She hopes to be an example to others, to show them that all it takes is tapping into your networks and reaching out to others, to make an impact. “My main goal is to engage people to act locally, but with a global vision,” said Ling.
Filipino Anglicans: $3.2K, 20 Balikbayan boxes
On the church front, the Filipino Anglican congregation of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Toronto has ongoing efforts to receive donations in kind. Without a space to call their own, the parish has relied on the goodwill of volunteers who have gone door to door to pick up relief goods upon request, said Darla Roguel, the church warden.
Access Storage lent a space free of charge for the next six months, to stash their planned shipment. The congregation plans to send the first batch of 20 boxes by week’s end and is hoping local couriers will also extend their generosity and waive shipping fees. As of Dec. 1, they have raised $3,222 and have packed eight Balikbayan boxes.
“I’m hopeful that there’s more to come,” said Roguel. “Because I know rehabilitation will be going on for a long time.”
Distribution of relief goods will be entrusted to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and priority will be given to the poorest of the poor.
Monetary donations will be made out to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In total, the PWRDF has received more than $215,000 in support of its collaborative efforts on the ground. Since news broke of the typhoon’s monumental damages, the agency has disbursed two grants amounting to $40,000 to partner organizations.
The initial grant was given to the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a global coalition of churches and church-based humanitarian organizations. PWRDF’s latest grant will be used to give temporary shelter to 525 families living in the municipalities of Bantayan and Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island, Cebu province, who have lost their means of income and homes.
Frankie Tomatto’s raises $25K
In a gesture of solidarity with his Filipino-Canadian employees, Italian restaurateur, Hal Roback, the owner of Frankie Tomatto’s, earmarked Black Friday earnings to be donated to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan Fund. Their buffet drew in 1,100 people, shy of their expected turnout of 1,600. With more than 20,000 raised, Roback has committed to top it off to $25,000.
“I think it was because of Black Friday. People were out for shopping,” says Pepe Siy, the vice president of the restaurant.
Gateway Centre, JDLSPA raise $22K
In Mississauga, the Gateway Centre for New Canadians, a community centre for newcomers, partnered last month with World Vision, a Christian relief and advocacy organization, and the Josie de Leon School of Performing Arts, to host a concert fundraiser featuring local Filipino-Canadian talents. Together they raised $22,000, with 1,000 people in attendance over the course of the event.
18 friends hold dinner entertainment: $3.9K
At the grassroots level, a group of 18 tight-knit friends pooled their resources to rent a party hall and held a dinner fundraiser packed with entertainment for their family and friends.
“For us, this was something that is very special to our hearts,” said Marida Reyes, one of the organizers of the event. “We have families who were directly affected by Haiyan. We may be far away, but we can still make a difference in helping rebuild the dignity and future of the Philippines.”
In total, they sold 120 tickets, at maximum capacity for $20 each, and were able to raise $3,915, as of press time. Proceeds will be going to Oxfam Canada’s Typhoon Emergency Response fund.
“We were overwhelmed with all the support we received,” Reyes added. “We honestly didn’t expect the amount of donations we received.”