Lots of things. It's been an emotional past couple of weeks. First with the earthquake that affected my uncle's province in Bohol. Then with Typhoon Yolonda which left the convent that my two aunts were staying at demolished. My relatives are not located in the heavily covered Tacloban, but in Ormoc. Reports from my dad tell me that our family out there is alive, but the infrastructure around them is gone.
I am thankful for the many relief efforts that have and are taking place in the States. The news talked about feelings of helplessness that Filipinos abroad experienced. I definitely felt that way. But as is the case, the Filipino American community pulled together and there have been several events like concerts, food drives, and other things. For me, the most important thing is continued relief efforts. The conversation does not stop when the press stops covering it. Relief and recovery efforts will continue. Folks have asked where and who to donate to. This is my short list.
NAFCON - For folks who want to donate to a Philippine organization not affiliated with the government, this is who I recommend. They are already doing work year round in the Philippines since they are based there.
Team Rubicon - Strawberry Farm Boy Mike brought this organization to my attention. He currently works on Veteran Homelessness and Team Rubicon actually provides jobs to returning Vets. It puts all their training to good use. Team Rubicon is looking to send at 125 folks to the Philippines to continue recovery efforts. Donations to them support recovery and support returning veterans.
Oxfam - Oxfam was already on the ground in the Philippines doing relief efforts after the Bohol earthquake. They continued to bring aid and supplies to folks hit by Yolanda. Seeing them distribute aid in the days immediately after Yolanda were the few happy stories I would read.
Shelterbox - Like Oxfam, Shelterbox was already in the Philippines conducting relief efforts to those impacted by the earthquake in Bohol. They are now also focusing on Yolanda relief efforts. A Shelterbox provides aid in the forms of a tent, water purification equipment, a stove and cooking supplies, and other things.
If you are able, please support some kind of relief efforts. I am extremely grateful that folks are continuing to fundraise and provide assistance to the Philippines in some way, shape or form. If you would like to get continued updates on relief efforts you can join the US Haiyan / Yolanda Relief Efforts - Info Sharing group.
I am thankful for this space on the internet that is my constant reminder to create. That there are words that need to be written, edited, and published. And that there are more oblivious stories to come.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!