Tuesday, November 12.
When the images of the devastation appeared on TV, what we experienced with typhoon Sendong came flooding back. When we saw the still photos and the videos of women and children crying because of fear and then hunger, our hearts ached. The general feeling was this: we had to do something! We must do something! We must act, and act now! They need help and we must lend a helping hand.
We saw that the Cebu and Manila saints were busy repacking relief goods from LDS Charities. We understand that Cagayan is too far away to be used as a repacking center for the Church. Then we remembered this from our Articles of Faith 13:
” … If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
And so we acted. That same day, on Tuesday morning, we looked for an opportunity to help. We heard that DSWD Field Office 10 needed volunteers for the repacking of food packs. DSWD 10 needed to produce 50,000 food packs daily to be sent to Visayas, and in that need we saw an opportunity. We asked, and we were given the opportunity to help.
It wasn’t really hard to get volunteers. I believe it’s because we know how it feels to be on their shoes, having experienced it before when typhoon Sendong killed more than 1,000 Cagayan de Oro residents and wiped out homes along the Cagayan de Oro River. It took just one post in Facebook, and the following day (the day after the post was made), almost 200 volunteers – members and friends not of our faith – came to the Stake Center at 8:30 sharp, all ready and eager to begin.
I still have goosebumps reflecting on how all the volunteers did the work. Literally, they all just “zooooooooooooooomed” and did everything almost automatically. Everyone was just so engrossed with the task that night came and nobody really noticed it. For the first batch, 71 sacks of rice was packed in less than 30 minutes! That was just amazing! Most of the volunteers looked at the place where the sacks of rice was piled and when there was none, they all said: “that was it?”
All in all, in two days, the Mormon Helping Hands Volunteers and their friends repacked 150 sacks of rice, boxes and boxes of canned goods – sardines and corned beef, boxes of instant noodles, and another food item. We produced 2,840 Family Packs for 2,840 families in the Visayas.