Bay Area donations for Philippine typhoon victims

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(BCN)

The deadly typhoon that struck the Philippines has prompted an outpouring of support in the Bay Area, and local Filipino organizations are gathering donations for the disaster victims.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines on Friday, and the death toll is still unclear, but it is estimated that thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others lost their homes.

Members of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns held multiple fundraisers in the Bay Area over the weekend and will gather today at Market and Powell streets in San Francisco to raise money and awareness about the disaster.

“A few of our members will be singing songs and giving information about what’s been happening and collecting donations,” said Ryan Leano, the Northern California regional coordinator for the organization.

Leano said many members of the group have family members in the affected area of the Philippines.

“They haven’t had contact yet, unfortunately, because the power’s been knocked out,” he said. “We’ve had to rely on the news on the devastation.”

The West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, located at 175 Seventh St. in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, is accepting donations at the center until midnight, executive director Rudy Asercion said.

Asercion said community members were shocked by the strength of the typhoon.

“A lot of people are amazed at a 195 mph storm,” he said. “We’ve never heard of such things.”

Asercion said several military veterans have shown up at the center in uniform to help with the donation effort. Items like emergency supplies and canned food are being accepted, as well as cash donations.

Project PEARLS, a Peninsula-based nonprofit that helps poor children in the Philippines, raised more than $1,600 and packed 47 boxes with donated goods at an event over the weekend in San Bruno.

The donations will be sent directly to the Philippine Red Cross, according to the nonprofit.

The American Red Cross is also assisting in the relief efforts by helping Bay Area residents try to find missing family members in the Philippines.

Residents can call the Red Cross at (510) 595-4414 or (408) 577-2054 if the inquiry is about a non-U.S. citizen. The U.S. State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services is handling inquiries for U.S. citizens and can be reached at (888) 407-4747.

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations specifically for typhoon victims on its website at www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod4650031.

The organization is not accepting any food or material donations, spokesman Woody Baker-Cohn said.

“In general, trying to collect physical things is not helpful, given the distance and logistics involved and the compromised infrastructure,” Baker-Cohn said.

More information about the Red Cross response to the typhoon can be found online at www.redcross.org/news/article/Typhoon-Haiyan-Disaster-Alert.

(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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