My friend Ruby Brillantes, (a fellow ex-pat and Canadian) with the help of some friends, has made a huge difference for 100’s of families who were victims of the flood in the Philippines. She has taken $1300 and provided food and necessities to many families. Below is her update. Many times people are reluctant to contribute to charities because you hear about the high percentage of dollars that go towards administration and bureaucracy. Now you have a cause where 100% of the dollars go directly to the victims.
To contribute via Paypal: brillantesruby at gmaildotcom
Sunday, October 4th
With 22,000 Pesos on hand, Janet and I went to Makro (like Costco, for the masses – we didn’t go to S&R – apparently their for the “haves”). We picked up groceries and went straight to “River of Joy” Fellowship Centre in Manila. When we got there, there was one elder in the centre and a fellow named Jun sitting outside on a bench. He said that’s where he lives and he sleeps in his Jeepney at night.
We recruited Jun and put him to work with us. We re-packed 110 Care Packages. Each package contains 2 cans of sardines, 2 dried noodles, 1 juice drink, 1 bottled water, 1 “everything” soap, 2 small chips, 1 toilet paper and 1 sanitary napkin amounting to approx PhP 7,500 and we gave the elder PhP 4200 pesos to buy 100 kilos of rice to be distributed together with our goods. In total we spent PhP 11,700 pesos for the children of Manila North Cemetery – hopefully to reach out to 200 families.
I also allotted 500 pesos for gas = $10 for our drive all week
After Manila, Janet and I went to Hi Top Supermarket – same as Makro and we bought the same thing again. We spent about PhP 5,500 pesos. We could not buy everything at once as Janet’s car is 20 years old. We are afraid that it might not cooperate with us if we overload. (Good old Toyota Corolla – they’re great cars!). It is the only vehicle we have to do our escapade for the day/week.
We drove to Project 6 next, as one of my friends from high school owns a rice store. We had 3 sacks of rice delivered to my apartment that evening. = PhP 5,000 = a little over $100. So for yesterday, we spent approx PhP 22,700
Today is Monday, October 5th. I have no work until around 8:30 pm tonight.
Janet showed up at my condo unit bright and early. We started to re-pack the groceries we bought yesterday. A friend from our office joined us and used his lunch and breaks to help us pack. We re-packed about 100 care packages. Each package contains 2 cans of sardines, 2 dried noodles, 1 juice drink, 1 “everything” soap, 1 chocolate chip cookie bag, 1 toilet paper and 1 sanitary napkin. We also bagged 100 kilos of rice – (1 kilo per bag = 100 bags of rice for 100 families).
I also withdrew another 22,000 Pesos.
I ordered 6 more 50 kilo bags = 300 bags (1 kilo/bag) of rice to give away = PhP 10,000 pesos. I am reserving one 50 kilo bag for our cook out. The re-packaging will be done all week.
In total, we will have 400 one kilo bags of rice and 100 care packages = 500 families.
On Saturday, October 10th, our crew (me and my office mates) will be braving the City of Pasig – one of the most devastated area. We will hit 3 townships inside the city. (I will need to buy a pair of boots…..but if the water is waste high, I guess I don’t have to!) We will do a cook-out – make Arroz Caldo. I am using the one 50 kilo bag of rice for that. (For my friends in Canada, this is like Congee in Chinese Food). This is the easiest to make and hand out, as well as the cheapest. I would say spend about PhP 5,000 plus purchase bottled water to go with each bowl of Arroz Caldo. We will also buy all ingredients on Friday night plus buy a trail load of bananas. This place is still under water – we have to figure out logistics through each township leaders. I was informed that for those areas were water had subsided, the people are practically shovelling the left over mud. Most, however, are still under water – with garbage afloat. Some merchants are charging for boat rides of up to PhP 200 persos per ride. Just to give you a perspective, some people earn that for a day. (I am so glad I have my IPOD docking station – my daughter sent it to me and I can use it then… a little soothing or upbeat music …hhmmmm would be nice I think :-))
The cookout plus our 500 bags of “goodies” …sounds good!
When all this is done, I will have approx PhP 5,000 pesos (if the bananas doesn’t cost much with the bottled water) and $129 in the bank. This money, plus whatever is coming in, I plan to work with my friend Angelo who’s sister Aiko Melendez works as one of Quezon City’s councillor. She was the first to reach out to the depressed areas and has the guards, vans and people to deliver the next set of goods. It was with them that I experienced my first journey and if they didn’t have the logistics in place, I would have been trampled along with her family. Also going out with them gives me the greatest experience of reaching out. They’re not afraid.
If there’s more money coming in after this, I will keep going and add on to this.
I think that’s money well spent.
For now, on behalf of all of us here and the flood victims, we thank each of you for all your thoughts especially to those who sent us money. I was able to raise $1385.14.
I will give you one last update (and hopefully pictures) after this weekend.
I believe we made a difference.