Local Filipino Community Members Help with Relief Effort

Local Filipino Community Members Help with Relief Effort

"They are in dire straights right now, but these people are resilient. They will recover," said Dr. Sabado.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Some local Filipino community members might live here in the United States, but they said the Philippines is still their home. 

They said they feel the devastation of this super typhoon, as they wait to hear from friends and family back from their respective islands and now they're hoping people will help at a time where they feel so helpless.

Devastation almost a world away, but when you call that place home it doesn't seem so far.

Celsa Utterback was born in the Philippines. Now living in Martinsburg with her husband, Albert, they have strong ties to loved ones who've been struck by this natural disaster.

"I said to my sister, what are you going to do? The typhoon is super strong, and she told me that she was starting to cry because they still sleep outside and she said that the only thing we can do is pray. And please help us to pray that the typhoon doesn't hit us in our island, because if it hits our island again I don't know what we're going to do. There's no where to run," said Celsa Utterback.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake less than a month ago, super-typhoon Haiyan, plus aftershocks and a smaller typhoon hitting the Visayas region of the Philippines has left major destruction and the death toll in the thousands.

"Now these people are without food, shelter, electricity. Between the earthquake and the typhoon, whatever little possessions they've managed to salvage from one disaster has been taken away by the next disaster. Now pretty much, the clothes on their back are all they have," said Celsa’s husband, Albert.

And the people in the Philippines need help.

"They need food and also maybe like, money to rebuild," said Celsa.

Money for food, as well as clothes, fresh water and toiletries and Dr. Francisco Sabado said they will rebuild. 

"They are in dire straights right now, but these people are resilient. They will recover," said Dr. Sabado.

Dr. Sabado is helping to organize a traditional Filipino breakfast and brunch at Saint Leo's church in Inwood, W.Va., this Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It’ll cost $7 per person and $20 per family to get breakfast and brunch, but Dr. Sabado said any monetary donations are welcome and appreciated. He said the money will be donated to victims of the earthquake and typhoon. 

Dr. Sabado said we must all have hope because without it, all is lost.

How to help: Organizations offering relief to Typhoon Haiyan survivors

The American Red Cross - Washington County Chapter. - Nationally the American Red Cross has launched a family tracing service among other aid options. If you are unable to reach a family member in the Philippines, you can connect your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case. Those who want to support relief efforts are asked to mail a check to their local American Red Cross Chapter, with "Philippines Typhoons and Flood" in the memo line. Go to redcross.org for local chapter information or redcross.org.ph to donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross. http://www.redcross.org/md/hagerstown/

Unisef - Focusing on saving the lives of children in the Philippines. Form to donate click here. Support UNICEF's emergency response in the Philippines. Any amount you can give will help save kids' lives. You can also mail or call 1-800-367-5437 to donate by phone. 

Habitat for Humanity - Internationally the organization plans to offer repair kits for families who need to rebuild their damaged houses. Link to help here

The Salvation Army - This group is asking for $10 donations by text. One hundred percent of the money donated by sending TYPHOON to 80888 or through their website will be used to sort, ship and distribute donated goods. 

AT&T - The company is offering billing relief for customer calling and texting family and friends in the Philippines. Between Nov. 8 and Nov. 30, At&T wireless postpaid customers will not be charged for international long distance calls placed from an AT&T number in the US, Puerto Pico, and the US Virginia Islands to the Philippines. Likewise, AT&T will not charge customer for any text messages to the Philippines sent from AT&T wireless numbers. 

AT&T customers can also contribute by making $10 donations using the following short codes: 

  • Text AID to 50555 to give $10 to donation to Operation USA

    Text AID to 80077 to give $10 to HOPE Woldwide

    Text AID to 27722 to give $10 to World Food Program USA

    Text AID to 80108 to give $10 to the Give Foundation Philippines Relief Fund (U.S. State Dept. Campaign). 

Comcast - They're offering free calls to the Philippines for Xfinity Voice residential customers and access to the Filipino Channel for digital customers.

To help unite families and friends in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Comcast will provide free calls to the Philippines for its Xfinity Voice residential customers. This will apply to calls made to the Philippines by customers between November 8 and November 22, 2013. Credits and waived fees will be automatic and no action will be required by customers. 

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