Local Filipino-American Society to host Typhoon Relief Fundraiser

By WEEK Reporter

November 13, 2013 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- It was an emotional and terrifying week for the Central Illinois Filipino community. The Central Illinois Filipino-American Society has decided to give back to their loved ones back home. The society is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds for Typhoon Haiyan Relief Saturday from 6pm-10pm at the Comfort Plus Hospice in Pekin at 2400 N. 8th St.

Filipino-American Society President, Reginald Gress, said that the funds will go towards providing immediate relief to those without food and shelter as well as some comfort to those families in Central Illinois, who are wanting to help but are so far away.

"Those people in affected areas in the Philippines basically have nothing now, no electricity, most of their buildings were destroyed," said Gress. "So we knew there was a great need, and we knew there was a strong Filipino-American community here in Central Illinois who want to help."

"We had this big urge to do something," said society member Araceli Lear who had volunteered her hospice, Comfort Plus Hospice in Pekin, for the event.

Lear had been trying to contact her family members in the Philippines for days. She has received nothing back.

"Right now there's no way to get a hold of them, and it bothers me," said Lear. "There is no communication right now. It is like a complete block."

A Champaign student at the University of Illinois, Jeselle Obina, has had similar experiences, "My family could not get in contact with my family in the Philippines, and because of that, we have no idea who's alive."

This feeling of helplessness inspired the society to provide a way for the community to help the Philippines. The benefit will have dancing, raffles, prizes and free food and drink. Guests will be asked to provide a monetary donation at the door. Checks are preferred and should be made out to "American Red Cross" and have "Typhoon Haiyan Relief" noted in the memo section. All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief.