Nicole Bormate, Jasmine Bandali and Jerrelei Jumalon underestimated the amount of help they would get while fundraising for the Philippines.
The three second-year students joined together following the category five super typhoon — one of the worst storms to hit the Philippines — to raise money for those affected.
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on Nov. 8 hitting the town of Guiuan in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines. The storm continued across the central Philippines where it reached it peak intensity right over top of Tacloban, one of the larger cities on the east coast. Manila, the country’s capital and most populated city, was out of the storm’s path as it continued northwest towards Vietnam.
Bormate said she was not surprised when she first heard that a storm would be hitting the Philippines.
“Storms are really common in the Philippines, so it’s not news for us,” Bormate said. “I heard that there was a storm coming and I was like ‘Oh it’s just another storm coming.’ And I didn’t really see it having this much effect.”
However, the destruction really hit home for Bormate after seeing images of Eastern Samar, her home province, ravaged by the deadly storm.
“After I saw the news and what actually happened, it’s almost surreal to me. I never thought it could happen like it happens to other places, but you think it couldn’t happen to your place. It’s almost unreal for me,” she said.
Despite the familiarity the country has with tropical storms, Bormate said the sheer magnitude of Typhoon Haiyan is something that nobody could become accustomed to.
“This one is just huge. It basically wiped out an entire city. This is not at all common,” Bormate said. “It doesn’t matter if we get storms every day, what matters is how big the damage is.
“I wouldn’t say that anybody could get used to this kind of stuff.”
From the second largest populace in the Philippines, Cebu City, Jumalon said she was shocked when she heard that the central area of the country was the main affected area.
“I am not used to the center part of the [country] that gets this tragedy. It was just a disaster. I have never heard of a place in the middle part of the Philippines that got damaged,” Jumalon said.
Since sending out a message on Facebook to their friends asking for donations for their bake sale, Bormate said support has come pouring in.
“It doesn’t really matter where you come from. Most people just come to us and say ‘Hey I want to volunteer,’” Bormate said.
The group has grown so large that the three students are now working on becoming a ratified group through the U of S Students’ Union to form the Filipino Students’ Association.
Following the Canadian government’s announcement to match all donations to large organizations to aid the Philippines, Bormate said the group will donate all of their proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross by Dec. 9.
What began as a simple bake sale has quickly turned into a total of four bake sales, door-to-door snow shovelling and a coffee house evening.
The group is hoping that the coffee house evening — taking place at St. Thomas More College on Nov. 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. — will help them reach their fundraising goal. The event will feature live bands, singing and performances along with coffee, pastries and Filipino finger foods. Admission will be $5 at the door.
Nursing students, STM Just Youth Group and another group of students have organized bake sales expected to take place in the Arts Tunnel the week of Nov. 18–22 with their proceeds also going to Philippines relief funds.
Door-to-door snow shovelling is tentatively planned for the weekend of Nov. 23–4.
The Circle Drive Alliance Church has also paired with the U of S group and is accepting in-kind donations of non-perishable food items, clothes, blankets or any other supplies to be sent to the Philippines on Nov. 26.
Those interested in volunteering to fundraise for Typhoon Haiyan relief are asked to contact Nicole Bormate at email@example.com.
Photos:mansunides/flickr & Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor