Outpouring of support benefits typhoon victims in the Philippines

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An enthusiastic group of volunteers from the Filipino Association of Swift Current and Area Inc. assisted with the fundraising day for victims of Typhoon Haiyan hosted at the Newcomer Welcome Centre on Tuesday.

A steady stream of donations was contributed during a special day long fundraising effort in support of victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Even before the halfway point of the day on Tuesday over $10,000 had been collected by the Filipino Association of Swift Current and Area during a fundraiser at the Newcomer Welcome Centre to help the estimated over half a million people who were left homeless by the powerful typhoon. Back on Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the islands of Leyte and Samar, with the official death count rising into the thousands.

Emilio Completo, President of the Filipino Association of Swift Current and Area Inc., said that many of the large number of Southwest newcomers from the Philippines have had family members at home directly impacted by the destruction.

"I know one lady, she was forced to go home because she hasn’t heard back from her kids, so she decided to go home right away. I have one fellow here, his parents survived the storm, but they are homeless right now because all of the homes were torn down by the typhoon," Completo said.

Having a fundraiser allows them to reach out to family, friends and neighbours from their home country.

"I feel bad for them. I feel sorry that it happened. Filipinos are used to typhoons, because the Philippines get at least 20 typhoons per year. But this one is one of the strongest that has ever hit the country, the strongest to ever hit the earth," Completo said. "Personally my family wasn’t affected, because my family is living in the northern Philippines, and the affected area is the central Philippines."

He was pleased to see the steady stream of people making donations on Tuesday, with people showing up right at the beginning of the fundraiser.

"I’d like to thank the people of Swift Current and the people of southwest Saskatchewan for their generosity with all the donations that they gave for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It will make a huge difference for them. Right now our immediate reaction is to gather donations for their immediate needs, but we’re also planning for the future projects for them. After the immediate needs, there will be a need to reestablish their lives. For example, building classrooms for the students. It would be very helpful for them, especially the children."

Completo was also overwhelmed by the large response for help in hosting the day long fundraiser.

"When I posted on Facebook that we needed volunteers, lots of fellow Filipinos were willing to volunteer."

The fundraising effort was hosted in support of the Canadian Red Cross Society, with official receipts being issued by the Red Cross when the funds are submitted.

For individuals who were were unable to contribute on Tuesday, they are invited to make a financial donation online at www.redcross.ca.

The Federal Government has created a matching fund where they will match every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians through registered Canadian charities until Dec. 9.

Organizations: Filipino Association of Swift Current, Newcomer Welcome Centre, Canadian Red Cross Society

Geographic location: Philippines, Swift Current, Saskatchewan

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