Typhoon victims fundraiser gains huge community support in Jasper

·3 min read

The response was immediate and huge after Erin Quiroga asked on Facebook if there would be a fundraiser for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Seven Filipinos in Jasper have family members in the Philippines who have been directly affected by Typhoon Rolly, hit the country from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, and Typhoon Ulysses from Nov. 11 to 12.

Michael Oregines, media relations officer for the group that organized the fundraiser, said a couple of provinces in the Philippines had been hit hard.

"Imagine when the rescuers were in helicopters, trying to find people in low light, and were asking people to shout or turn on their cell phone flash lights," he said.

"People were sitting on their roofs, trying to be safe."

As soon as notice of a fundraising bottle drive posted on Facebook group Jasper Buy, Sell & Trade, organizers started getting responses from people straight away that they had bottles at businesses and addresses that could be picked up.

Clara Adriano led the bottle drive with Kathleen Bautista and Daren De Guzman, treasurer.

And the fundraising didn’t stop there.

Organizers asked Filipino families to donate $10 apiece per household.

But when they went to collect the money, those donations ranged from $10 to $200, and were not only from the Filipinos.

"Everybody supports the cause - the full community," Adriano said.

Lito and Kathleen Bautista sold homemade Filipino food and money was donated to the fundraiser.

Chowie Ismaili, a staff member at the Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge, and her Filipino colleagues donated prizes for a raffle draw with proceeds from the raffle being donated to the fundraising effort.

Rodelita Rabago is also donating 100 per cent of her profits from selling breads and pastries from a bakery in Edmonton.

Frank Marcojos, group leader of the Tim Hortons Jasper Family, collected a total of $1,100 within the group. Adriano said Marcojos' family was helped by a Filipino fundraiser in 2013. "He said that he will always be thankful for that," Adriano noted. "And this is the reason why we do what we do. His message keeps us motivated."

So far, the group has raised $8,035: $2,100 from the bottle drive and $5,935 from monetary donations, the raffle, food sales and bread sales.

The group will continue to raise funds into the first week of December. Some of the money raised will go to the local families whose family members in the Philippines were affected by the typhoons.

The rest will go to organizers in the Philippines to provide clean water, food, blankets, and personal hygiene items.

"There are many who lost their homes," Oregines said, "so they need basic essentials."

Once a connection has been set up between Jasper and organizers in the Philippines, the community will be updated about how the donations were applied.

"We're emotional about the support," Adriano said. "This is how the Filipinos have been every time there has been a typhoon in the Philippines. We just come together.

"It's the same with our beautiful town and all the Jasperites.

"We are truly thankful for the trust and support that our small community has given to us. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude and joy."

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh