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Happy, Clarissa & Monica’s Grocery Runs for Victims of Typhoon Ondoy.

The first batch of relief goods they purchased from Facebook donations
The first batch of relief goods they purchased from Facebook donations
Relief Center in Ateneo.
Relief Center in Ateneo.

I had originally posted the 9/27 note below on Facebook (see original note) — and made it viewable to “everyone”, not knowing that “everyone” did not mean people without Facebook accounts! So here it is — the most important part is the ONLINE DONATIONS section close to the bottom:

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Hi folks, here’s a slightly more direct way of helping out the victims of Typhoon Andoy — my brother Happy Vergara has set up an email account just for Paypal donations (paypal [at] 622design.com) and has raised $1500 today from Facebook friends alone! He and his spouse Clarissa David, and her sister Monica, have been running off to the supermarket and buying the canned goods themselves and dropping them off personally at the relief center in Ateneo. Please help!

See also pictures of Happy, Clarissa and Monica in action. (Requires Facebook login.)

UPDATE (9/28: 12:30 PST): They’ve raised enough money to make a second run to the supermarket this afternoon (9/28 Manila time) and will keep returning to the supermarket to buy canned goods as long as the donations keep coming in. But we know that won’t be enough — some people are still stranded on the roofs of their houses, the flood waters aren’t all receding yet, and thousands of people are still displaced from their homes (or what’s left of them).

UPDATE (9/28, 6:00 PST): And once again, the Facebook posse has come through: my brother woke up this morning to find over $790 more in funds, bringing the total up to $3031 in 24 hours! He’ll be making a third run to the supermarket and the pharmacy today (vitamins and rehydration salts are what is needed right now).

UPDATE (9/29, 8:30 AM PST): The third batch of groceries were just purchased and delivered, and they’ve raised $4,100 — thanks to all you Facebookers!

UPDATE (9/29, 9:15 PM PST): the total is now $4,700 in 48 hours from Facebook — thanks again! Clarissa and Monica are out buying groceries again; we’ll keep you folks updated!

UPDATE (9/30, 7:00 PM PST): the total is now $5,900 — money and relief are going to to Sta. Cruz, Binan, San Pedro, Tadlak in Laguna. Thanks again!

UPDATE (10/1, 7:50 PM PST): we’ve raised $6,300! Pictures from the donations to Laguna will be posted soon.

UPDATE (10/2, 7:00 PM PST): we’ve raised $8,400 thanks to you amazing people. An increasing number of donations have been coming from people who aren’t in any of our friend networks — just people who saw them reposted on a friend of a friend’s profile, and those were only the ones I could locate on Facebook.

UPDATE (10/4, 9:00 PM PST): we’re up to $9,100, thanks to you! Please see Benjamin Pimentel’s article, “For FilAms, a ‘Happy’ Way to Help”, on Inquirer.net.

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ONLINE DONATIONS

I know it’s frustrating for those of us who live away from the Philippines and can’t seem to find a way to do this securely online [EDIT: not true anymore, see below] (and not have to bother with wire transfers and check clearing, or worry that the funds may go into the wrong hands). Happy just took the initiative and set up the Paypal account. They’re not set up to give out receipts for tax deductions or anything (sorry); all we’ve been doing is sending quick thank-you notes on Facebook and tagging donors in photos of the relief goods. (But yes, I think it’s great that you can see what was purchased with your donations just a few hours afterwards, and see them being delivered to the relief centers, and no, the trio are not getting paid for any of this.)

[What I do find amazing about all this is the speed in which this all took place, not to mention the fact that an increasing amount of the Facebook donors had never even met Happy or Clarissa or Monica. My and their Facebook friends in turn reposted the original note on their profiles, and we started receiving donations from people who weren’t even friends of friends. So you see, Facebook isn’t just for inane quizzes after all!]

There are now many other places that also accept online donations:

And see even more here, at the Moongirl blog.

There’s probably a drop-off site in a city near you as well; NAFCON/Sandiwa, among others, are coordinating them.)

Whichever way you donate, it’s extremely appreciated, and a little goes a long way in the Philippines. Of the grocery items that the three have purchased:

– $1 will buy 10 juice boxes,
– $5 will buy 5 cans of tuna,
– $10 will buy 24 packs of powdered milk,
– $17 will buy a 55-pound sack of rice (more or less, we think, 100+ cups of cooked rice, which means a hundred-odd people!)

PLEASE, PLEASE HELP. (Yes, I’m shouting here.) In three villages in the city of Sta. Cruz in my home province of Laguna alone — and it’s not even the worst-hit area, unlike Metropolitan Manila which was 80% submerged — 5,000 people are still in waist-deep flood water, and reports are still coming in of entire baranggays still stranded, with no food or drinking water for the last three days. All in all, 280,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

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