The Philippines is still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country’s central islands on Nov. 8. The Philippines is accustomed to natural disasters — 15-20 typhoons hit the country every year — but with winds of up to 250 kilometres per hour (160mph), Haiyan’s fury was unprecedented.
As a Filipino with strong ties to the hardest-hit areas, I cannot begin to express the grief (at the destruction) and gratitude (at the generous response of the global community) that has overwhelmed me these past few weeks. Friends from all over have contacted me to ask about my family (my immediate family members, who all live in Manila, are safe but my father’s hometown was hit hard, and I do have relatives who have sustained damage to their homes and ran low on food for a few days before the roads were cleared). They have also asked me for ways they can help. I usually say that cash donations (to reputable agencies, such as those recommended by CNN) are the quickest and most efficient way to get water, medical supplies, food and shelter to the typhoon victims.
Those in the Bay Area have even more opportunities to help. According to the San Jose Mercury News, about 400,000 Bay Area residents identify as Filipino, and many keep in touch with close family members who live across the Pacific nation’s many islands. Filipino Americans have been scrambling to organize relief drives and benefit concerts, and the whole Bay Area community has been generous with their money and time. Here are some ways Bay Area residents can contribute to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts:
1) Rise Up Philippines, a Bay Area-based disaster relief group, is accepting donations of non-perishable food items, baby products, personal hygience products, flashlights, batteries, clothing, tarps, blankets and money. Items will be boxed and sent directly to Typhoon Haiyan survivors. Bottled water will not be accepted. Although they will not turn away clothes, they are most in need of personal hygiene, first aid, and baby goods. Donations can be dropped off at 140 Serramonte Center (next to the DAISO store) in Daly City on weekdays between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and weekends between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Last day for donations is Nov. 30. For more information, call 650-892-4678.
2) San Francisco community organization West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center is accepting monetary donations as well as donations of canned goods, emergency items, toiletries, and clothes. Items will be boxed and sent directly to areas affected by the typhoon. Volunteers are also needed to help sort and pack boxes. Donations and volunteers are welcome from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily until Nov. 22; only cash donations will be received after that date. For more information, contact:
West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center
175 7th Street, San Francisco CA 94103 415-431-6266
3) The San Francisco Boys Chorus has put together a benefit concert for Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 24, at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light. Funds raised will benefit Filipino victims through the Catholic Relief Services. Suggested donation for concert attendees is $25. Donations can be made on the concert’s EventBrite page.
WHAT: Philippine Typhoon Relief Benefit Concert featuring the San Francisco Boys Chorus
WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St, Oakland
4) Filipino restaurant Fort McKinley is holding a Pre-Thanksgiving benefit dinner on the night before Thanksgiving; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross to benefit Typhoon Yolanda victims. It’s a great chance to enjoy Filipino food without giving up your Thanksgiving turkey! Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for kids aged 6-12. Seating is limited, so make reservations by calling 650-871-2222.
WHAT: Pre-Thanksgiving Family Buffet Dinner
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 6 – 9 p.m.
WHERE: Fort McKinley restaurant, 101 Brentwood Drive, South San Francisco
5) Strength in NUMBERS artist, Ruby Ibarra (a Filipino-American originally from Tacloban, one of the cities hardest hit by the typhoon) is organizing a benefit concert featuring Bay Area entertainers on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in Newark. The concert also includes a one-hour open mic session at the end of the show to let members of the community share their art, as well as their stories of how Typhoon Haiyan has affected them, their family or their friends. 100% of profit from the $10 entrance fee and and raffles will be donated to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan via the Tanauan Leyte Assumption Foundation.
WHAT: Philippine Typhoon Relief Benefit Concert featuring various Bay Area artists
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 from 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: 37800 Central Court, Newark
Photo courtesy of CAFOD
Bonggamom grew up in the Philippines and has weathered many a typhoon — albeit from the comfort and safety of her childhood home. She is trying to raise her children to have a more compassionate understanding of a typhoon’s effects than she did. For a links to reputable relief agencies working with Typhoon Haiyan victims, read her reflections on Typhoon Haiyan post.