Typhoon Relief Efforts Underway In Woodside

 BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

Many in Queens have gathered to collect food, clothing and funding to help the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the city of Tacloban in the Philippines.

After the island was hit with near-record winds and a storm surge on Nov. 8, it became extremely difficult for aid groups, agencies and armed forces to reach some parts of the damaged islands.

Elected officials joined the American Red Cross and the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns at a community forum at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center to discuss Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

Elected officials joined the American Red Cross and the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns at a community forum at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center to discuss Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

Since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) has worked to aid the Filipino community in Woodside, known as Little Manila, finding loved ones back home and organizing relief efforts.

Gianaris joined the American Red Cross, the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns and State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) at a community forum at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside on Nov. 14.

“In times of disaster, we come together to recover and I am proud to see the recovery efforts already underway here in Queens,” Gianaris said.

Representatives from the Red Cross and NAFCON shared information on how all New Yorkers can help those affected by this catastrophic typhoon.

“This is the worst humanitarian crisis in Philippine history, and the Philippine government is not responding adequately,” a representative from NAFCON said.  “Six days after the typhoon hit landfall, aid and relief have yet to reach Leyte and Samar, the hardest-hit regions in the country. It is up to the community to send aid and relief.”

Josh Lockwood, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region, said families trying to locate loved ones in the Philippines, as well as those coping with the emotional trauma caused by the storm, can call (877) 733-2767.

Democratic District Leader Jessica Ramos of Jackson Heights organized a clothing and canned food drive on Nov. 17, in front of the Post Office at 37th Avenue between 78th and 77th Streets, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ramos said the collection went very well in spite of the rain.

“Dozens of Jackson Heights residents brought non-perishable food and clothing donations for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines to the Jackson Heights Post Office,” Ramos said. “Our local Girl Scouts troop helped load four cars that took the donations to RDR Cargo in Woodside, the shipper who will be sending the donations for free.”

She said they are waiting to hear back from the shipper to know whether he will continue to ship donations before they schedule new collection dates.

Adrian Bordoni, executive director of Woodside on the Move, said their organization has been serving as a hub of information for the local Filipinos living in Woodside. They have also partnered NAFCON and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) to connect and families trying to locate and help their loved ones back home.

Bordoni said if anyone is interested to help, call (718)-476-8449 or email the group at info@woodsideonthemove.org.

Beth Edejer, a volunteer at the St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, said they are working to collect funds and clothing to help those devastated by not only the typhoon, but also the earthquake that hit the province of Bohol in the Philippines in October.

So far, the church has collected more than $19,000 through their fundraising efforts and they plan on raising more by selling tickets at their line dance event taking place this Saturday, Nov.  23.

The line-dance event will start at 6 p.m. at the auditorium of St. Sebastian School in Woodside. Admission is $5.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says than 13 million people have been affected and 4.4 million have been displaced.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.