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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSt. Thomas Filipinos Raise Funds for Haiyan-Struck Families

St. Thomas Filipinos Raise Funds for Haiyan-Struck Families

Filipino teacher Leni Diaz is more than 10,000 miles away from her family members in the Philippines, but super typhoon Haiyan hit her just as hard.

“My friends and family said you could not even say thank you that you’re alive,” said Diaz. “If you look around your surroundings, you’re very sad that your village lost homes and livelihood.”

Diaz is from the province of Capiz on Panay island in the Western Visayas region in central Philippines. Some of her family, she said, lives in a coastal Roxas City, considered the “seafood capital of the Philippines.” When Haiyan made landfall, the tides rose alarmingly and surged into the coastal towns and cities, including hers.

“My aunt lost her fishing boat and that’s her livelihood,” shared Diaz, adding that one of her aunt’s workers was killed in the storm surge.

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According to Diaz, there is significant discrepancy in the distribution of attention and relief aid among places affected by the typhoon. Much media attention is now focused on hard-hit Tacloban City and its surrounding municipalities, which is good according to Diaz, but while her hometown did not take as much damage, she said the residents there also need relief, sooner rather than later.

“We also want to tell the world that Panay island lost homes and lives as well, and we need your help, too,” she said.

According to Diaz, there are other Filipinos on St. Thomas who have families suffering in the Haiyan aftermath. With help from the Filipino-American Association of St. Thomas and St. John, Diaz is raising funds for those Filipinos’ family and friends, especially those living in areas where aid is slow in coming.

“We are trying to have this program called ‘Adopt a Barangay’ – a barangay is like a village here – and that’s where we’re starting,” shared Diaz.

On Monday, Diaz could be seen with other members of the Filipino Association strategizing on ways to raise funds or monitoring fundraising efforts already in progress. In between batches of letters and boxes, they would take calls from the Filipino Association president, Juliet Joy Garee, who continues to coordinate fundraising efforts while at a family event in Florida.

“The association is soliciting money from different local businesses by sending out letters,” said veteran teacher Rebecca Ledee, a long-time Frenchtown resident and a member of the Filipino Association.

“We are also doing distribution of donation boxes to major establishments on St. Thomas,” said Lilibeth Trilling, who called herself a “partial member” of the association, even as Diaz insisted that Trilling was doing “full-time work” in fundraising.

In addition to dropping off donation boxes, Trilling, along with her husband Jim, are donating day-sailing tours on board their catamaran, “The Cat,” in the form of gift certificates that Filipinos can sell and have the proceeds go toward the fund drive. According to Trilling, Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline is also donating in a similar way, giving away zipline credits that can be sold by the Filipino Association to go toward their Haiyan fund.

According to Ledee, other members of the Filipino Association members are also doing their part, dropping off letters at different government offices or donation boxes at businesses close to where they live. Ledee said those they have approached so far were more than willing to lend a hand.

“The response is overwhelming,” shared Ledee. “They were were not just willing to help. They were asking us themselves how they can help.”

Trilling shared the sentiment, saying, “We are very, very thankful that people on St. Thomas are coming together also to help the Filipinos.”

Fundraising efforts continue, and according to Diaz, Trilling and Ledee are concerned, no help is too small for those who seem to have lost everything.

For more information on the Filipino Association of St. Thomas and St. John’s fundraising efforts for Haiyan victims, residents can contact Rebecca Ledee at 1-340-774-9266 or Lilibeth Trilling at 1-857-719-5302.

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Filipino teacher Leni Diaz is more than 10,000 miles away from her family members in the Philippines, but super typhoon Haiyan hit her just as hard.

“My friends and family said you could not even say thank you that you’re alive,” said Diaz. “If you look around your surroundings, you’re very sad that your village lost homes and livelihood.”

Diaz is from the province of Capiz on Panay island in the Western Visayas region in central Philippines. Some of her family, she said, lives in a coastal Roxas City, considered the “seafood capital of the Philippines.” When Haiyan made landfall, the tides rose alarmingly and surged into the coastal towns and cities, including hers.

“My aunt lost her fishing boat and that’s her livelihood,” shared Diaz, adding that one of her aunt’s workers was killed in the storm surge.

According to Diaz, there is significant discrepancy in the distribution of attention and relief aid among places affected by the typhoon. Much media attention is now focused on hard-hit Tacloban City and its surrounding municipalities, which is good according to Diaz, but while her hometown did not take as much damage, she said the residents there also need relief, sooner rather than later.

“We also want to tell the world that Panay island lost homes and lives as well, and we need your help, too,” she said.

According to Diaz, there are other Filipinos on St. Thomas who have families suffering in the Haiyan aftermath. With help from the Filipino-American Association of St. Thomas and St. John, Diaz is raising funds for those Filipinos’ family and friends, especially those living in areas where aid is slow in coming.

“We are trying to have this program called ‘Adopt a Barangay’ – a barangay is like a village here – and that’s where we’re starting,” shared Diaz.

On Monday, Diaz could be seen with other members of the Filipino Association strategizing on ways to raise funds or monitoring fundraising efforts already in progress. In between batches of letters and boxes, they would take calls from the Filipino Association president, Juliet Joy Garee, who continues to coordinate fundraising efforts while at a family event in Florida.

“The association is soliciting money from different local businesses by sending out letters,” said veteran teacher Rebecca Ledee, a long-time Frenchtown resident and a member of the Filipino Association.

“We are also doing distribution of donation boxes to major establishments on St. Thomas,” said Lilibeth Trilling, who called herself a “partial member” of the association, even as Diaz insisted that Trilling was doing “full-time work” in fundraising.

In addition to dropping off donation boxes, Trilling, along with her husband Jim, are donating day-sailing tours on board their catamaran, “The Cat,” in the form of gift certificates that Filipinos can sell and have the proceeds go toward the fund drive. According to Trilling, Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline is also donating in a similar way, giving away zipline credits that can be sold by the Filipino Association to go toward their Haiyan fund.

According to Ledee, other members of the Filipino Association members are also doing their part, dropping off letters at different government offices or donation boxes at businesses close to where they live. Ledee said those they have approached so far were more than willing to lend a hand.

“The response is overwhelming,” shared Ledee. “They were were not just willing to help. They were asking us themselves how they can help.”

Trilling shared the sentiment, saying, “We are very, very thankful that people on St. Thomas are coming together also to help the Filipinos.”

Fundraising efforts continue, and according to Diaz, Trilling and Ledee are concerned, no help is too small for those who seem to have lost everything.

For more information on the Filipino Association of St. Thomas and St. John’s fundraising efforts for Haiyan victims, residents can contact Rebecca Ledee at 1-340-774-9266 or Lilibeth Trilling at 1-857-719-5302.