When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last November it left a wake of destruction the country is still recovering from and will be for a long time. One of my co-workers, Tara, is from the Philippines and still has many family members there. I heard about the typhoon on the weekend and when I saw her again on Monday at work I asked about her family. She said that they were all very lucky that they were in areas that were not that affected – all except for an aunt and uncle.
Her aunt and uncle were separated for five whole days without any contact, not knowing how to find each other, not knowing if the other survived. I can’t imagine how awful that would be. They did find one another eventually, to everyone’s relief including mine!
I made a small cash donation to the relief efforts at that time and recently Tara asked me if I could add to a box of donated items she was planning to send over for her family to distribute to people in need. I wanted to help but I had just recently gone through my apartment and closets and already donated extra things to a thrift store in an attempt to unclutter a little bit.
Around the same time I was invited to a clothes swap and had the inspiration to ask my friends if they would be ok with me scooping up all of the leftover clothes to give to Tara for her shipment. My friends agreed and so this weekend I collected all of the leftover clothing, shoes, handbags and many reusable shopping bags (an item high on Tara’s list of things to donate).
I brought everything home where I sorted, folded and packed it all up. I went through my own closets again and miraculously found about 4 more bags of stuff I really didn’t need!
The next day I dropped everything off with Tara who combined it with her own boxes and today they were sent away. Tara and her family send things over twice a year and they send things by boat because you can fill a large box with as much stuff as you want and the weight does not affect the price – unlike when you send by air. It takes a couple of months to get there but it always gets there safely.
Tara’s family distributes the items in various communities – where ever they think there is a need including at orphanages. Usually my friends and I donate our clothes swap leftovers to local thrift stores – and all the winter coats and flannel pj’s will stay local – but it was interesting to know our things will be half a world away this time! Tara mentioned that sometimes her family takes photos of the places they visit with the donations so if I hear news of how it went or receive any photos later this spring, I’ll be sure to post them.
Thank you Tara for doing this! Thank you Carlo for helping with the heavy lifting! Thank you to all my friends who donated!
Happy Pink Monday!