Worrying halfway across the world
Local Filipino enclave leading typhoon relief effort
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Nov 24, 2013 | 4844 views | 0 0 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PITCHING IN – Barbara Purcell of Harmon Cove contributes to the Philippine relief fund outside the fruit market in CVS Plaza in town center. Edil Berto of the Knights of Columbus of Immaculate Conception Church accepts her donation.
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The Filipino Society of Secaucus has organized an emergency response to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan — possibly the strongest storm in recorded history — after it slammed into the Philippines on Nov. 8.

“An estimated 9.5 million people are affected by the storm and many have no access to food, water, or medicine,” said society spokeswoman Maribel Anota. “UNICEF estimates that more than 40 percent of those affected are children under 18 years of age.”

Donations in cash or check payable to Immaculate Conception Church were scheduled to be collected outside the house of worship on Paterson Plank Road on Saturday, Nov. 23, as well as Saturday, Nov. 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and Sundays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The group is working with Fr. Joe Pietropinto.

“Your gift will help provide vital relief to children and families devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines,” Anota said.
“Your gift will help provide vital relief to children and families devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines” – Maribel Anota
The Immaculate Conception’s Knights of Columbus chapter was already collecting donations on Nov. 16 outside the Green Farmer’s market in CVS Plaza in town center, raising $700 in four hours.

Ecumenical celebration

Another way to give will be at the annual Secaucus Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 800 Roosevelt Ave., on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. There will be a freewill offering collected on behalf of the Philippine Disaster Relief of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. There will be cake and coffee following the service.

Personal loss

The destruction literally strikes home for North End resident Anota. She is originally from near Tacloban City in the Province of Leyte, the worst hit area in the country.

Her family’s weekend getaway home in the suburb of Di-it, just outside Tacloban – where she spent years as a child growing up – was washed away. Now many of her memories are too.

“All roads and highways are damaged,” Anota said. “And, of course, the airport was devastated.”

A second cousin was killed by the storm, and another is presumed dead.

So Anota and many of the other 150 Filipino families of Immaculate Conception have banded together to make a difference.

Town initiatives

The town is also busy with several measures to help the people in the Philippines homeland, according to Mayor Michael Gonnelli. Most are still in the early planning stages.

Among them is another of Secaucus’ “dine out” days, which will take place sometime in December.

“We’re getting the restaurants to participate in donating a portion of the proceeds to Immaculate Conception Church, which would then distribute the funds,” Gonnelli said.

The Fire Department will pitch in with a “boot drive” where members will collect money, hat in hand, in areas like the Harmon Meadow retail center. About $10,000 was collected that way for Haiti in 2010 after its earthquake, according to the mayor.

Town employees will be apprised about how they can help via a paycheck note, which will inform them they can “dress down” to work for a nominal contribution.

“If someone wants to wear blue jeans to work, we let them for a buck,” Gonnelli said. “So if people want to donate on their own, they would have an outlet to donate.”

The town does this four times a year, so this quarter, the Philippine relief fund would be the beneficiary.

Also under consideration is a dinner-theater performance at the town senior center, which would involve the Community Arts Scholarship Theater.

In addition, 30 pallets of new clothing have been donated to the town’s Philippines relief effort by a Parsippany company, according to Secaucus’ chief executive.

“It’s sweaters, jeans, T-shirts, all different types of things,” Gonnelli said.

The coordination of the in-kind items, and their shipment to the Philippines and their distribution there, will be handled by LBC warehouse of Secaucus, according to Anota and the mayor.

For more information on how to help, contact Anota at (551) 655-4811.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.

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