It’s been nearly a month since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, leaving thousands hurt, homeless and hungry, but Coasters have stepped up to help.
Individuals, schools and organizations have put on various fundraising events since the tragedy on Nov. 8, and to date more than $15,000 has been raised. That money will be matched by the federal government, so the Coast can boast in more than $30,000 making its way to the Philippines.
The total doesn’t include personal donations that have been given or the donations being taken at grocery stores like IGA or at B.C. liquor stores, but it’s an admirable amount for a community of around 29,000 people.
In addition to monetary donations, Coasters have given practical items like tents, blankets and medical supplies through Dance Works Academy in Gibsons, which forwarded the haul to LBC Mundial Cargo.
The cargo company shipped 54 large boxes stuffed with goods from the Coast to the Philippines last week.
“I was so excited about that,” said Zoe Barbaro of Dance Works. “Because the shipping company is a Filipino company, they were willing to ship everything for free.”
Barbaro was one of the first people to put up a post on Facebook to coordinate some kind of fundraiser for the Philippines.
She’s done many fundraisers in the past to help fill needs on and off Coast.
“I have a hard time seeing tragedy, and this is the only thing I know how to do to help,” Barbaro said, noting she has a team of friends who always support her. “I myself am not doing anything, it’s everyone. You just have to be the person to show others where to start because a lot maybe aren’t sure what to do.”
She organized a bottle drive and bake sale on Nov. 23 that ended up bringing in over $2,700, thanks in part to a generous $1,300 donation from the Lighthouse Pub and their staff.
Barbaro was excited about the response, noting it was “just something we threw together.”
Myoga also ran a promotion to give $10 from every class (up until Dec. 1) to the Philippines relief effort, and they were able to donate $50 to the cause.
Another community fundraiser on Nov. 30 at Masonic Hall was put on by Davis Bay Elementary School students and a small group led by Creeker Gary Pennington, dubbed Friends of the Philippines.
That event had used goods and baking for sale as well as live entertainment and it brought in nearly $2,800.
“It far exceeded being a garage sale and became sort of a celebration with the Filipino community here,” Pennington said.
Many Coast schools got into the fundraising spirit. Madeira Park Elementary School students teamed up with the community to raise $4,000 at a relief benefit held on Nov. 24.
Gibsons Elementary School raised $1,600 through a bake sale and garage sale. Elphinstone Secondary School brought in $825 through a duct tape challenge that saw teachers get taped to the wall.
Roberts Creek Elementary School is still fundraising, but has raised $2,000 so far through donation bins, pizza days and garage sales, and a class at Langdale Elementary School collected coins and raised $100.
Local businesses have also been taking donations.
McDonalds accepted donations from customers between Nov. 14 and 17. Customers gave $624 and owner Bill Chao topped up that amount to $1,200.
IGA stores on the Coast have also been taking donations from customers, and they will continue to do so until Dec. 23. The federal government has agreed to match donations until this extended date. B.C. liquor stores will take donations until Dec. 9-.
To find out more about Canada’s relief effort, including how you can help, go to www.international.gc.ca and click on Canada’s Response to Typhoon Haiyan.