Send a smile, be a good neighbor to the Philippines

Natalie Netzel Staff Writer

November 15, 2013

There are no words to describe the devastating effects of natural disasters especially with the recent typhoon that hit the Philippine Islands Nov. 8.

This typhoon was a Category 5, which is the highest category for storms. As of Nov. 14, there have been 4,460 confirmed dead on the islands. That’s 4,460 husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. That’s a lot of stories ended.

However, just because we are far across the ocean and on the east coast, it doesn’t mean we can’t help. It doesn’t mean we can’t heal the hurt with our seemingly small actions. All it takes are numerous small actions to collect into something major.

I’ve actually known a few Filipinos throughout my lifetime but the one that pangs me the most is a young girl I don’t have contact with anymore only because she was in the Philippines. The others are American citizens.

This young girl was a Compassion sponsored child who would send me letters and pictures every month. Just to see that letter or package in the mail brightened my day.

You can also get that same feeling by looking into sponsoring a child from the Philippines through Compassion International or just helping Compassion help the many children struck by the recent typhoon.

The Compassion Philippines Country Director Noel Pabiona sends this update on the situation and relief efforts:

“Severely affected areas have no water, food, power and means of communication, so relief operations are severely hampered. Public transportation hasn’t been restored and people are desperately seeking any means to get out of these cities. This is the current situation in most parts of Leyte province. We have dispatched a three-man team to go there despite the difficult and dangerous situation. The team is expected to reach at least four of our church partners by the end of this day. Please pray for their safety as they conduct rapid assessment, encourage and pray with the grieving, and make arrangements to get relief goods to them by any means possible,” said Pabiona.

Compassion helps with disaster and relief stability which assists families of Compassion assisted children. People don’t always have to sponsor a child. They can donate and specify where they wish to donate.

However, Compassion is not the only organization providing assistance. There are plenty of ways people can help without even heading overseas.

Although, if you are able to, manpower is always needed no matter how big or seemingly small the job.

— The American Red Cross is taking donations to help with assistance. They also have a telecommunications team to inform families and loved ones. Just visit

— The Salvation Army is also taking contributions to help the survivors. Just check out

— The medical field is very overwhelmed right now. There is one organization called Doctors Without Borders who are sending people to assess the damage and help with any of the medical needs. More information can be found at

Other organizations to check out are:

World Food Bank at

Philippine Red Cross at

Americares at

Mercy Corps at

International Rescue Committee at

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at

Samaritan’s Purse at

Operation Blessing International at

As you can see, there is no shortage of organizations willing to help and who need assistance. So what are you waiting for? Lives are being claimed daily.

Natalie Netzel is a staff writer for The Newberry Observer and can be reached at Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.