A group of Filipinos in Canada used social media to gather help for victims of tropical storm Sendong in the Philippines.
The group donated money, clothes and time to help Filipinos devastated by flashfloods in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City.
It all started on Facebook when organizer Ryan Ferrer, a Mindanaoan, re-posted an appeal for help from friends from Iligan.
Social media once again played a big role in mobilizing the Filipino community, as it took only a few days to organize the relief efforts.
About $3,000 in cash and pledges were raised, as well as 20 balikbayan boxes of goods ready for shipment. The group will also send ready-to-eat meals in the stricken areas.
“Right now, we have around P100,000 worth of medicines na dadalhin sa Iligan in the next few days. Yun ang immediate na nagawa nating,” Ferrer said.
The Canadian government also expressed its condolences to Filipinos.
Senator Yonah Martin handed a letter of sympathy on behalf of Prime Minister Steven Harper to Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Jose Ampeso.
"Canada is on alert and monitoring very closely to what is happening and ensuring that we can assist in ways that we are needed,” said Martin.
“This is an initial step to really rally all other efforts to send whatever we can send to those who have been devastated," said Ampeso.
Ampeso added Filipinos in Calgary also started a donation drive for Sendong victims.
Clean drinking water
Also in Canada, a team of Canadians left their families behind during the Christmas holiday to bring clean water to Sendong victims.
Global Medic Western Canada Coordinator Shawn Carby was among those who played Santa to typhoon victims in Philippines this year. Their gifts: water purification tablets and water systems to bring 11.4 million liters of clean drinking water in areas hit by tropical storm Sendong.
“It’s not a hard decision for me and the other team members. Basically it's Christmas for people in the Philippines as well. If I was in that kind of situation, I want somebody to come help me out when I'm in that kind of distress,” said Carby.
Global Medic earlier sent a rapid response team to bring water purification tablets to Cagayan de Oro, and their follow up mission will augment the continuing needs of typhoon victims.
Their trip was made possible by Philippine Airlines in Vancouver who sponsored their flight and almost 2 tons of cargo.
“They got in touch with PAL Foundation and they went to higher management. I guess they presented their case, and I received an authorization from Manila to prepare tickets for them and to load and accept the cargo that they will be bringing along to Mindanao,” said Allan Coo, PAL country manager in Canada.
Kababayans going home to the Philippines for the holidays are grateful to Global Medic's support.
‘Music for a cause’
In Panorama City, California, Filipinos attended a special concert, featuring 20 local musicians, called "We Are One."
The concert raised over $8,000 for ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya program which will aid in relief efforts for the victims of Sendong.
In Daly City, California, the Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center (PBRC) appealed to the community to drop off clothes, canned food and other goods at their office this Thursday (December 29) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 2121 Junipero Serra Boulevard.