When news of Typhoon Haiyan made headlines, all I could think about was Anda. What could I do to help the Philippines?
Anda had no hostel, no street lights, no beachfront bar. The town’s three restaurants – open stalls with pots of assorted meat stews and adobo placed in the windows – leaned haphazardly together in an open park.
It was a typical Filipino community, with roosters that woke us each morning and Catholic church bells that sent us to bed each evening.
Every person we passed waved or smiled. Children swarmed us with tentative touches and broken English, “Hello! Come again! Goodbye!” Locals invited us to move into their homes, humbly offering to share what little they possessed with two foreign backpackers.
“We don’t have air conditioning,” one grandmother lamented, “but if you are comfortable with a fan, please come stay as long as you want.”
When news of Typhoon Haiyan made headlines, all I could think about was Anda. And one family who didn’t realize their hospitality was infinitely more valuable than modern air-con.
Thousands of Filipinos continue to mourn, recover and rebuild after the natural disaster. And, though a monetary donation is always the easiest and most efficient option, here are a few other creative ways to help the Philippines:
- Feed My Starving Children: Acting on the Christian principle of “feeding the hungry”, this non-profit has specially formulated a hand-packed meal to improve the health of malnourished children. Over 2.5 million meals have been requested for survivors of Typhoon Hayain, and you can volunteer to help pack these at seven branch locations around the United States.
- Ten Thousand Villages: Since 1946, this fair trade retailer has supported international grassroots development by eliminating costly middle men and paying artisans directly for their products. Not only can you shop online for unique Filipino crafts and learn about the folks who created them, but ensure your dollars go directly to the people who deserve them.
- Join Together Society: Operating in Mindanao, Philippines, for the past decade, one of JTS’ goals is the eradication of illiteracy. Their American branch asks for children’s books and school supplies, which they build classrooms and provide a better education for Filipino kids.
- Habitat For Humanity: This well-known organization utilizes volunteers and donated supplies to build houses for homeless people around the world, is accepting in-kind donations to help put roofs over displaced Filipinos. Instructions on how to provide necessary goods and services is available on the HFH site.
~ Until the next adventure! ~ Kelli