CORVALLIS, Ore. – It is estimated that over 5,000 people have died in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan and that over 3 million people have been displaced from their homes, and a cultural group at Oregon State University is doing what they can to help those in need.
“I’m originally from Aklan in the Philippines,” said OSU student Roberto Garcia. “And it is in the middle area where the typhoon hit in the Visayas region.”
Garcia says Aklan is still his home; he is just temporarily living in Corvallis while he studies at OSU. When he originally heard about Typhoon Haiyan, Garcia says he wasn’t worried.
“We get a lot of typhoons just because of the geographical location,” he said. “But once I started seeing all the pictures and videos people were posting online, I started to worry.”
He immediately tried calling his parents, but it took over 24 hours before he got a response.
“It wouldn’t even ring,” he said. “It would go straight to voicemail. Or the operator would just say ‘unavailable service.’ So it was nerve-wracking! I can’t lie, I was scared for the worst.”
Weeks later, the storm is over, Garcia’s family is safe, but his hometown has been destroyed.
The Filipino cultural group on campus, Isang Bansung Pilipino (IBP), which means one nation of Filipino, decided to fundraise for the victims of the storm.
“Today is our lumpia and musubi fundraiser,” said IBP group member Leah Segui. “And this is to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Being Filipino is being part of this bigger family. So even though I myself may not have been affected by it, I’m still a part of this bigger community. And that’s why IBP has come together to help those back at home.”
Garcia, Segui, and the rest of their group stirred up lumpia, a type of eggroll that can have meat, veggies, or bananas inside. They also made spam musubi, a Hawaiian snack food. They sold the goodies on campus on Monday.
“It’s really heartbreaking to hear about all these tragedies that are happening around the world,” said OSU student Jenna Sullivan who purchased some lumpias. “And it’s hard to be here and be busy and not have too much of a way to help. But it’s really nice when people put in the effort and the energy to create these outlets for people like me to put a little bit of money it. And it’s a win-win because the food is delicious.”
The IBP had a presale of about $1,000. But once they subtract their expenses, Garcia thinks they will make about $600.
Group members were originally going to hold the fundraiser to raise money for their own activities. But once the typhoon hit, members wanted to do their part to help the victims in the Philippines.
“They need it the most,” Segui said. “These are people who have been displaced. They don’t have any food or water or any place to live. And so the little bit that we could provide today I hope could go a long way for them.”
The group is still accepting donations until the end of the week. Those who would like to donate can message the IBP administrators on their Facebook page available at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/560548097302393/
All the money IBP raises will go to Kiwanis International in Garcia’s hometown. The group says it chose Kiwanis because it will receive a rundown of what is done with the money.