Gaining experience from its previous typhoon relief efforts, UA&P H.O.P.E.S. was relaunched as early as November 8, one day before typhoon Yolanda cleared the Philippine area of responsibility. After a brief meeting between the Center for Student Affairs (CSA) and past student volunteers, Study Hall B was quickly transformed into a headquarters for the relief operations.
Goods collected from the weekend were few, but quickly multiplied in the following days. Students, faculty, and staff, as well as alumni, came by to drop off clothes, boxes of canned goods, bottles of water and sacks of rice. Robust support came from the alumni who not only brought goods but stayed and helped out in carrying the boxes, sorting out and repacking the goods.
Monetary donations also poured in. Cash and cheque donations alone garnered a total of Php250,000, while a Unionbank uShare account was created to serve as an alternate way of securing donations online.
The social media team gave regular updates from the start of the operations, live posting what was needed, thanking donors, and calling out for more help. The official Twitter account of UA&P (@uapasia) rallied students and alumni to come to the University to donate or help the relief operations.
By Wednesday night, the team completed the first 2,000 relief packs, which were brought to Guiuan, Samar via plane. Another 2,700 packs were assembled to be distributed to other hardest-hit areas: 700 packs to Aklan, 1,000 to Palo, 500 for Julita, and 500 for Alangalang.
Relief operations will extend until 9:00 pm tonight, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm tomorrow.
At the moment, another great form of help is to pray for the victims and their families. Noon time Masses and rosary brigades for the victims were held at the Stella Orientis Oratory, but continuous prayers are still needed.
It is well-known that the Filipinos are resilient people. Rebuilding will take some time, but with our support, Samar and Leyte and the other affected parts of the Visayas will be able to move on with hope for the future.
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