NC Filipinos raise relief money as they wait for word on relatives
Posted November 12, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Four days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, some people living in the Triangle are still trying to connect with family members in the Pacific island nation to learn whether they survived the massive storm.
Seeing video of the destruction in her native land was initially too much for Josie Spontak of Raleigh.
"I think, for me, I just tuned it out," Spontak said Tuesday.
When she finally could bear to watch, she knew she wanted to help Filipinos recover. So, Spontak called other members of the Philippine-American Association of North Carolina, and the group is now taking donations through its website.
"I hate to ask for money, but so many people need it," she said. "Right now, the need is for medicine, food and water."
The Philippine-American Association of North Carolina will direct donations to a relief fund, possibly the United Nations Children's Fund, and will buy supplies to take on a relief trip to the Philippines in January. Members plan to reach out to rural areas.
"I felt I wanted to take on the biggest fundraiser in my life to help the island," Spontak said.
She said she has 25 cousins living in the Philippines and hasn't been able to reach them because phone lines are knocked out. She prays that they are safe and have basic necessities, such as food, clean water and medical supplies.
For Judith de la Cruz, her prayers were answered when she learned Tuesday that her sister and brother-in-law and their children survived the typhoon.
"We were just so jumping up and down, telling everybody they survived, they made it," de la Cruz said.