Love was indeed in the air on Valentine’s Day, February 14 when a heartwarming gift from the people of Ireland was turned over to Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez.
Ann Chan, a charming woman straight from Ireland, met with the Congresswoman and her husband Richard Gomez at Makati Shangrila Hotel to donate a cheque worth 439,460.00 for the survivors. Specifically, this was for the purchase of Shelter Kits.
The donation was yet another answered prayer. Ann came across Lucy’s Sunday column in the Philippine Star detailing her plea for more donations and funds for the survivors. Ann then got to work and rallied her community to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Through her group, Women’s Christmas Charity, they held a fund raising event in Killorglin, Ireland.
Hope lives on. The people of the district are slowly picking up the pieces, and it is all those helping hands that are extended our way that give us the strength to carry on.
It has been more than 100days since Typhoon Yolanda happened. The damage and destruction is still visible, palpable even, etched in the lives of a people that survived one of the world’s strongest cyclones.
The days that followed were made bearable only by relief operations, waves upon waves of it, made possible by the overwhelming kindness of individuals and groups from the private sector. Some we sought, others contacted us directly, offering assistance. There was not a day that the team did not send out to the universe both emails and letters, pleading for much-needed help.
Help did come. And how. Bulk donations arrived in the drop-off point in Greenhills. The residence was converted into a warehouse, a pastor came to bless the space. During the ceremony, Pastor Alex Dejolde made a supplication that the house will never run out of goods to give out. Almost four months have passed, the house is still filled almost to the ceiling with goods.
The Fourth District of Leyte is made up of 256 barangays, with a population of over 85,000 families, 90% of which were directly affected.
A system had to be established in the carrying out of relief operations. The basics were addressed first — food, water and clothes. Taking into consideration the average family size, a repacking formula was followed, to last a family of 5 for 2 days:
1 Blanket/Banig + 2 Kilos of Rice + 3 Packs of Noodles + 3 Canned Goods +3 Packs of Biscuits/Crackers + 2 Toothbrushes + 2 Toothpaste Tubes + 1 Bottle of Water
Clothes were donated in loads as well. Whenever available and possible, 5-7 items of clothing were included in the food relief packs. Otherwise, entire sacks of assorted clothes were turned over to the barangay. For transparency, these donations are awarded in full view of the residents of the barangay, as their barangay captain receives it. They then divide it among themselves.
As a cardinal rule, we never even attempt to enter a barangay that we cannot serve completely. Very simply put, this means that all households in each barangay are given exactly the same package regardless of political affiliation or color.
It has been more than 100 days. We continue to help as much as we possibly can. Hope lives on. We will rise again. It may take time, but by God’s grace, we will be able, as a people, to do just that.
There are not enough words to thank those who offered their services and resources during the days leading up to the relief operations.
We conducted relief efforts on a moment-to-moment basis, working with what was available. A flood of goods came in a steady stream to the relief center in Greenhills, Mandaluyong, but getting them transported to Leyte IV was a huge logistical challenge into itself.
It is often said that calamities really do have a way of bringing out the best in people and the same could not be more true in this case. We are very blessed to have friends who have lent us, for free, their resources as a means to transport the goods, allowing us to save on costs that would have otherwise been very prohibitive.
Thank you very much…..
Mikee and Shiela Romero
Mr. Cesar Duque
Fe Agudo of Hyundai (for transporting the shelter kits)
Mr. Tomas Tan (who joined our Creator last December 11, 2013)
And to those donors who even went the extra mile and took it upon themselves to transport the goods they donated directly to the relief center in Ormoc, door-to-door, we are very, very grateful.
May God give you back the thousandfold.