Mid-Missouri Groups Raise Money for Typhoon Relief

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COLUMBIA - The American Red Cross and a Filipino community group are working to send relief to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan plagued the area Saturday.

Anecita Sancho is the state chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). Her immediate family survived the strongest storm of this year, only suffering some property damages in Leyte.

Sancho said she felt sick when she first heard of the storm on the news.

"I felt so helpless really," Sancho said. "It's these emotions and feelings you can't explain." 

She said the phone connection was so bad she had to call her family nine times before hearing her niece say the family was alive. She said she just heard from her brother this evening.

"My brother texted me, and I was really relieved," Sancho said. "He's basically just asking for money to send extra money in advance because they want to buy rice in the other city because right now rice is very limited and you can only buy so much. So that's how critical it is right now."

However, not everyone with family affected by the storm are as fortunate as Sancho. The Red Cross said it activated its family tracing services for those looking for missing family members in the Philippines.

"Because the Red Cross has literally millions of volunteers across the face of globe," Red Cross Community Market Manager Clayton Kennedy said. "Any time there's a major disaster or war, we are able to reconnect families after those disasters."

Kennedy said if people in Columbia are having trouble contacting their family members in the Philippines, they should continue trying to call them, but otherwise, he said they should contact the Red Cross for this service.

Kennedy also said the best way to donate to the Philippines relief effort is through monetary donations.

"Any time there's a disaster, there's the human impulse to give the shirt off our back, but really what's needed is money," Kennedy said.

Sancho is launching her own donation effort with NaFFAA. She's working with the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, Meechu's Filipino Market in Columbia, and Oriental Mart in Fulton for monetary donations.

Meechu's Filipino Market is located at 1301 Vandiver Drive, and Oriental Mart is at 311 South Business Highway 54.

To donate through the Red Cross, visit its website.