NEW YORK –In a ceremony held at the Philippine Consulate General of New York, various Filipino and American groups celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday by a symbolic turn-over of $22,194 funds raised for Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) victims. The funds were received by Fr. Vic Salanga, SJ, in his capacity as Director of the Philippine Jesuit Foundation, a 501c3 corporation based at Upper East Manhattan.
Among those who contributed are New York-based artists who donated their works in a charity auction, the Ateneo Alumni Association of Northeast America, an Islamic Mosque based at Queens, professional organizations and individuals proactive in the Fil-Am community.
Consul General Mario de Leon addressed the benefactors with gratitude and a proposal for future fundraising events. He stressed the need to focus on rebuilding homes, after the initial food and medication aid to typhoon victims. Using the formula set by Gawad Kalinga, it was estimated that each home costs $2,500 to rebuild. The next wave of fundraising will benefit those who lost their homes.
A brief presentation of all the disaster areas was shown in a video. Fr. Vic Salanga discussed the projects of the Philippine Jesuit Foundation, not only for typhoon Yolanda but all other areas underserved by other institutions, including the care of a leprosy colony, the Stella Maris and Friends Project, in cooperation with the Maya United Fishermen’s Association, for a sustainable livelihood.
Meantime, it is observed that several individuals have mushroomed on streets initiating their own fundraising activities, without clear accountability. For instance, some Filipinos are sighted at public places, including Macy’s department store, distributing poster cards about Typhoon Yolanda, and asking for donations from passers-by. The American public is warned against such proliferation of dubious charities.
Many Americans are still seeking for a legitimate way to help. It is best to verify the organization initiating the fundraising, and demand an IRS tax-deductible receipt to be issued for donations. Online debit and credit transactions may be coursed through www.phjesuits.org, or checks can be mailed to Philippine Jesuit Foundation, PO Box 312, New York NY 10028, provide an email address to confirm a tax-deductible receipt.