Disaster Fund for My Mom & Our Farmers

My mother, Elpha, who lives in the Philippines, has been directly affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Along with many friends, relatives, neighbors and farmers living in a small, tiny village of Libacao, Aklan, they have endured a raging storm never before experienced in our lifetime. My mother, who is 88 years old, lived through World War II, but she feared for her life yet again the day this mega-typhoon decided to plow through farming villages, towns and cities in the Philippines. The roof of her house has been completely blown over, and everything inside the house got wet and badly damaged. As there was no cell phone signal and no power, I was not able to speak with her directly. I didn't know what her condition was, if she had water, food and her medicines. Waiting to get word about her situation was agonizing. After 10 days, I was able to finally connect with her and hear her voice. I am most thankful she is alive! She was able to find shelter at a neighbor's house. From her and from some relatives and friends, I heard stories of horror, disbelief, despair "“ but I also heard stories of hope and survival while they tried to look for some place dry to sleep on the first night the typhoon raged on.

Super Typhoon Haiyan's devastation
Because of the extensive damage that Super Typhoon Haiyan has brought to the Philippines, even the most basic needs are hard to come by. To this day, the town of Libacao, Aklan has no electricity; folks are told power lines may not be up and running until February 2014. From what I was told, very little aid has been given to this small town, and it is not enough to reach all the families that have been affected. During the typhoon, the international media has mainly focused on the Eastern Visayas region, but Panay Island in the Western Visayas, where my mother lives, is one of the hardest hit areas. Aklan was one of the provinces in the region that had been declared under a state of calamity. Since Libacao, Aklan is an agricultural town, the damage to local crops such as rice, coconuts, bananas, cassava, and to livestock, had been unexpected. They now have to buy food for themselves when in the past, these were staples they were able to feed themselves and their families.

Their Situation Now
People in Libacao are still waiting to get the help they need, 21 days after the typhoon made landfall. Although my mother does not (literally) have a roof over her head (there is a tarp as a temporary cover), most of the people in our farm have lost so much more. Their houses have been completely destroyed and flattened, some consider themselves lucky even with only a section of the house left standing. My mother told me that some of our farmers were "collecting cardboards" --- I asked what for, "to sleep on" was her answer.

Appeal for Help
It is with this thought in mind this Thanksgiving weekend, that I am reaching out to you for help. I am trying to raise funds to help my mother pay for a new roof, and to help some of the farmers in our town buy basic food and necessities. They are trying to rebuild their lives, and they need whatever help you and I can give them. I know I cannot do it alone, so I am hopeful that with your kindness and generosity, we can help others as they try to get back on their feet --- and make a difference in someone"˜s life. No gift is considered small; even a gift of $5 will buy a day's meal for a work crew. I am most thankful for your donation and your willingness to help me, my mom and our farmers in Aklan.

How the Money will be Spent
The money I raise will help pay for a new roof for my mother, help pay for some of her basic needs (food, water, medicines "“ she was hospitalized this week for 5 days due to pneumonia and anemia), and help pay for some necessities that she and the other displaced families in our farm needs (blankets, beddings, towels, soap, etc.) as most of the items in their own homes got wet and some are no longer useful. With the money I raise, I would like to help displaced families in our farm rebuild their homes so they have a place of shelter; the rains do come more frequently in the Philippines at this time of the year so having a dry place to stay helps. I have trusted people on the ground in Aklan who will hand-deliver the money I send. But I will control the funds from here and will make sure it is used for rebuilding efforts of each family we help.

Thank you most sincerely for whatever you can donate. I hope and pray that the blessings you give today will come back to you tenfold!
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