Jessica Jasperson, MSUM Mass Communications and English
Moorhead, Minn. — After Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines on Nov. 8, members of the Fil-AmMinDak Association reacted immediately.
More than 300 families are members of the Fil-AmMinDak Association, made up of Filipino-Americans within the tri-state area of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Two events are held throughout the year to celebrate Filipino culture with food, music, singing and dancing.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit their homeland, members organized Strength in Numbers, a spaghetti brunch to fundraise for Philippine Red Cross.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, 460 people entered the Hjemkomst Center in downtown Moorhead to support the Philippines. Businesses from the community volunteered to help immediately.
Monte’s Downtown, Reinhart Food Service and Sysco North Dakota donated the food. Johnson Brothers Liquor Company and Monte’s Downtown also donated items for a silent auction.
A feeling of thankfulness and hope filled the atmosphere as the Filipino-Americans served food and answered questions. Dr. Ador Dizon, president of the Fil-AmMinDak Association, said responding to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation was an instinct.
“When we found out this is probably the strongest Typhoon that hit the world, we organized this event,” Dizon said. “We tried to spread it through websites, newspapers and also Facebook.”
Adults were charged $7 for a ticket and children 10 and under were charged $5. A total of 389 adults and 71 children attended. However, the chart below illustrates more than ticket sales make up the total of funds raise.
Strength in Numbers raises thousands of dollars
|Total check donations||$5,177.00|
|Total cash donations||$1,759.66|
|Total ticket sales||$3,379.00|
|Total silent auction||$705.00|
|Check donated for Hjemkomst Center rent||$435.00|
Most of the families at the event did not have relatives in the parts of the Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan, but there are a few who are directly affected said Dizon.
“We hope that we could express our sincerity to help,” Dizon said. “We may not be able to raise a lot compared to the other events that other Filipinos are holding. But, we would like to offer our sincerest prayer and we would like to help these people as much as we could.”
Matthew Dungo is one of the six Filipinos from Grand Forks, N.D. who attended Strength in Numbers. Dungo moved to Grand Forks in August 2011 from the Philippines to attend the University of North Dakota. He sees the world coming together to help during traumatizing times.
“We’re being as one,” Dungo said. “Even other countries I see on the news – several countries like Israel and the U.S. – are all giving a lot of help for our country.”
As the afternoon progressed the Fil-AmMinDak members and volunteers didn’t stop expressing their gratitude for the donators.
“We just appreciate everyone that’s here right now at the event,” Dungo said. “Every penny, every dollar donated is a very big help for the Filipino country as a whole.”
The Philippines move forward
The Philippines have a long history of tropical cyclones hitting its land and affecting its people. In 1991, Tropical Storm Thelma caused floods and killed thousands of people.
Although the shock and trauma of a natural disaster causes indescribable pain, heartache and questioning, Filipinos do not give up when it comes to rebuilding their country.
“The Filipino people in that area, especially the affected area, they’re united,” Dungo said. “They are holding hands as one.”
“I know Filipinos are resilient people,” Dizon said. “They will be able to bring back things that they have lost through work and prayer.”
Organizations accepting donations for the Philippines
(Edited by Daniel Ziebol, MSUM Multimedia Journalism and Christa Schmidt, MSUM Mass Communications)