September 18, 2014

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX WRIGHT

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

Alex Wright with Dr. Andres S. Palma and assistant Lyka Grace Bondac on Christmas Day at the medical clinic in Canas Village that was completely rebuilt with help from Topangans.

My fundraising event is over and with your help I did what needed to be done and more. A big “Thank You!” to everyone who helped.

When Typhoon Yolanda slammed into the Philippines and left so much destruction, I was totally overwhelmed with the self-appointed task of rebuilding my new family’s five homes and medical clinic. I knew they would be counting on me to save the situation and I knew it was too much for me alone, so I reached out to my closest friends and to my community for help. At first it was very slow but then money started to come in. My friends and neighbors rallied my community of Topanga and the word spread. Big help also came from my dearest friends as far away as Israel, France, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX WRIGHT

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

Seen above is one of the 30 poorest families in Canas Village who received 6,000 pesos—$150 U.S., equal to a month’s pay—to re-build or build a bamboo house.

I told my new family in the Philippines that I lived in a special place called Topanga and that there were some extraordinary people living there who wanted to help. I told them that a lot of money was given and I had to explain to them that after we repaired their homes and the medical clinic that they, themselves (my new family), would not be getting any extra money. I wanted to honor everyone’s generosity and trust in me by doing all that could possibly be done with every dollar my friends and community gave. We were to help as many other victims of this tragedy as possible. My new family was very happy about this and took charge of the distribution of food and supplies given to their village of Canas.

SO MUCH MORE WAS ACCOMPLISHED

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX WRIGHT

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

Alex’s wife, Chari Palma Wright, wraps up candy for the children of Canas Village for Christmas.

Thanks to everyone who gave, we were able to repair all five of my family’s stucco/block homes and my father in-law’s medical clinic. While the village of Canas still has no water or electricity, my family is fortunate to have a water well, and thanks to everyone who gave a new top-of-the-line generator that supplies electricity every night to five homes and the clinic.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX WRIGHT

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

The home/medical clinic in Canas, Philippines, that was rebuilt with help from Topangans.

Because some extraordinary people gave extra, we fed 211 families (a little more than 800 people) during Christmas and the whole week after in the village of Canas. They told me that no one had brought them so much food in one “relief effort” before. It was a beautiful day.

For Christmas, we gave gift bags of candy and chocolate to 200 kids from families too poor to give gifts to each other at Christmas. Those kids were so very, very happy to get such a treat.

I asked for a list of 25 of the poorest people who had their bamboo homes destroyed. We gave 30 of the poorest people 6,000 pesos cash in envelopes—$150 U.S., equal to a month’s pay—to re-build or build a bamboo house for their family. Some started building the very next day.

We went to Iloilo City and gave a donation to SOS Children’s Village, an orphanage, where 103 children live in a very beautiful, loving environment.

They had ten nice homes on the property, each with a Mama and Papa to care for ten kids in each home.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX WRIGHT

Doing Great Good with a Little Help—Philippines Update

AlexWright and his family went to the refugee city in Estancia and gave cash to each of the 105 families (486 people) who were living in tents.

In the pouring rain, we visited the coastal town of Estancia where hundreds of homes were washed away when the ocean surged as Typhoon Yolanda slammed the island of Iloilo. ­­­ It was enough money for food for a week. They told us that no one had given them any money like this before.

Most of the relief food that was given to them was in the form of one meal at a time like spaghetti or stew or half a sack of rice. No one gave them cash and they were very grateful. ­­Estimates are that it will take the Philippines ten years to recover from the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda. Many will never recover. Unfortunately for some, life will never be the same.

GOOD PREVAILED

In response to my appeal, 170 caring people took action to help, many from my community of Topanga, but also friends of friends throughout the States and, indeed, the world. To those people, as well as to those who held us in their prayers, my new family in the Philippines, myself, and more than 1,200 grateful Filipinos thank you.

Because of you, all this was possible.

DONATIONS ARE STILL NEEDED

If you would like to donate to help victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, I recommend this organization: lindacruse.com/help-the-philippine-survivors/.

Of the more than 13 million people devastated by the storm, nearly five million are children already on the brink of malnutrition. Contributions go directly toward providing children, women and families long-lasting solutions that will put them back on their feet, not just for a few days or weeks, but for years to come.

Since 1996, Linda Cruse has brokered powerful partnerships between large businesses (wanting to offer help in stricken communities but not knowing the best way) and local charities (NGOs). Her work is inspired by the notion of giving a hand-up rather than a handout.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1418100791754713/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming.