Woodbury University is collecting donations for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped through the Philippines earlier this month, leaving nearly 4,000 people dead and 4 million displaced, said the university’s president, who has ties to the ravaged country.
In-kind and monetary donations collected by the end of the month will be shipped to the Philippine Red Cross and charity organization Caritas Manila, said Luis Calingo, who returned last Saturday to Burbank from the Philippines, where he was born and raised.
Calingo has relatives in the Philippines and happened to be in Manila for an event at his alma mater when the storm hit, though he did not witness the destruction firsthand. His family members, most of whom live on the island of Luzon, were relatively untouched by the devastation, he said.
Even so, Calingo spent much of his time abroad vetting different charity organizations to send information back to the university, whose students and faculty were eager to donate, he said.
The United Nations Humanitarian Action Plan for the typhoon response requested $301 million for relief efforts, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
So far, Woodbury has collected 10 boxes filled with used clothing and unexpired medications, Calingo said.
“I have to say, I felt somewhat guilty returning home on Saturday night because the country was still devastated, but I could contribute expertise in other ways,” Calingo said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The school created a website to educate community members about the catastrophic conditions in the Philippines and let them know how they can help.
Calingo, who moved to the United States in 1980 when he was 24, said he experienced five to 10 typhoons a year while living in the Philippines.
“The Filipinos are a very resilient people and these events will not make them lose their “trademark smiles,” Calingo wrote on the university’s website.
Donations are being accepted at the Woodbury campus, which is located at 7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd.
For more information, visit the university’s information page on the typhoon at communication.woodbury.edu/philippines-typhoon-victims/.