Local ways to help Typhoon Haiyan relief

By WEEK Reporter

November 13, 2013 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 11:15 AM CDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Philippine Student Association (PSA) are taking a stand to help raise funds for Typhoon Haiyan relief.

Grace Geremias and Jeselle Obina spearheaded a large-scale Midwest fundraiser for the Midwest Filipino-American collegiate student organizations, a network of more than 1,300 college students from more than 17 Midwest colleges.

"We're currently far away...miles away, but with the impact we know we can make, it's really important that we help out as much as we can," said PSA relief organizer Grace Geremias.

The association is raising funds for the Filipino advocacy group, Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), an organization that set up an emergency relief fund for Capiz and other affected rural areas with limited access to relief.

"As of Saturday we raised $2,715," Geremias said. "That will help 181 children as of now. We are hoping to raise more."

ARK is an organization that prides itself on having a genuine partnership with its affiliated communities in the Philippines.

All the funds that the student association raises will go directly to those communities. It will go towards providing temporary food and shelter. It will also be used to rebuild homes, school, gardens and farms, which the community needs to sustain itself.

People can donate online at www.ruralkids.org.

However, there are additional ways that local residents can give. Local Red Cross chapters have had an influx of calls from people who want to give a monetary donation to help.

"The Philippine Red Cross right now is working on search and rescue operations, assisting governmental operations there that will quickly turn into shelter, long term food and housing and water," said Regional Communications Director Erin Miller.

The Red Cross also works with the Salvation Army, which has operated in the Philippines for more than 75 years and has its members in the Philippines responding. Rich Draeger, Assistant Development Director, said that monetary donations are the most effective.

"People want to donate medical supplies and things like that," Draeger said.  "It's very difficult to do because even if we had the ability to ship them over, we have no where to store them. So money allows us to buy what we need as close to the affected area as we can."

The Philippine and International Salvation Army went to the affected areas to assess the situation and distribute basic necessities. Monetary donations will also go toward sponsoring emotional counseling and future rehabilitation programs.

Both the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross are accepting online donations.

To donate to the Salvation Army, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or text "TYPHOON" to 80888, and give an automatic $10 donation to the Salvation Army's typhoon relief from your phone.

For the American Red Cross you can call (309) 677-7272 or go to www.redcross.org/donate.

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