Triangle-based groups collect donations for Philippines disaster relief

sgilman@newsobserver.comNovember 11, 2013 

  • How to help

    • Catholic Relief Services is collecting monetary donations at P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303 or online at www.crs.org.

    • The Philippine-American Association of North Carolina (PAANC) is taking donations. Make checks to PAANC/Yolanda Relief Funds, c/o Susan Serna, treasurer, 4031 Oatgrass Lane, Raleigh, NC 27604. Questions: call Josie Spontak at 919-417-4146.

— At least two Triangle-based groups – The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and the Philippine-American Association of North Carolina – are collecting donations that will go toward relief in areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

The Catholic Diocese will take an extra collection for Catholic Relief Services, which already has members on the ground in the Philippines distributing aid and materials, said diocese spokesman Frank Morock.

“Bishop Michael Burbidge has asked all parishes to take up a special collection on behalf of the survivors of the typhoon either this week or the week after,” Morock said.

Morock said Catholic Relief Services is “prioritizing immediate shelter, blankets, potable water, toilets, et cetera.

The bishop has called for prayer for survivors and victims of the typhoon, Morock said.

Roads and conditions are so bad that the diocese plans no trips from North Carolina. Morock has been communicating with a couple of people from the Philippines, where the storm is known as Typhoon Yolanda, and said, “The communication is so bad, they don’t even know how family, friends or relatives are doing. The impacted area is just in an upheaval.”

The Philippine-American Association of North Carolina (PAANC), a nonprofit that has sent medical teams to the Philippines annually for 30 years, is taking donations for immediate help and planning a trip in January to provide aid to rural villages.

The association has set up an information page on its website, www.paanc.org, said the group’s spokeswoman, Josie Spontak. Because it wants all donations to go to a relief fund, PAANC will not be processing donations through PayPal or another third-party groups, she said.

Spontak said the group will likely send much of the money it collects to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for relief in the Philippines.

The rest will go toward materials members will take on a trip to Cebu, Philippines, sometime in January. PAANC members will reach out specifically to rural areas that larger organizations often overlook, Spontak said.

The association will not send envoys any time soon, because of conditions in the country.

“It’s a mess,” Spontak said. “Food is scarce. Disease is rampant.”

Spontak is from the Philippines, and has “really strong ties” that include 25 cousins and an uncle. She said with phone lines down, she does not know how things stand with her family.

“I have no way of finding out if we even still have a home there,” she said.

Gilman: 919-829-8955

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