When typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines back in November 2013 Chris deKoning and Jessie Cortes, two friends from Toronto, Canada, decided that no distance is too great to lend a helping hand. They immediately put up a website called Love, Tacloban, and raised funds online through YouCaring.com.
Below is the original video that Chris posted back in January 21 informing the world that he is flying to Tacloban and would appreciate donations. His plane ticket is already paid for, so every penny donated will be going directly to the people of Tacloban.
The Love, Tacloban fundraising page states the following:
Hello, we are Jessie and Chris.
In two weeks, Chris will be heading to the City of Tacloban to help with relief efforts. Since he is arriving on February 14th, Valentines Day, the project is called “Love, Tacloban”, and the results will follow.
Jessie has currently been there for the past two months on efforts, pursuing ongoing efforts for relief in the city.
We are raising money to bring to the city to purchase small, yet essential products.
Here are a listed few:
– Mosquito Nets
– Toothbrushes & Toothpaste, Soap, etc.
– School Supplies
– Art Supplies
We will be involved with house building and helping with community events.
We will be there equipped with camera, to produce a short film for anyone who can donate money. We want to show you a little of what’s going on there, and all the efforts involved into rebuilding the community, and where every dollar you have donated has gone.
Money goes very far over there, and we want to make sure it actually arrives, so this is why we are doing this account as opposed to suggesting a charity, as we want to make sure every dollar arrives.
No money raised will be going to travel expenses, food, or equipment. Subject to fees, the entire funds will go directly to the community.
In only 2-3 weeks they managed to raise a total of $2,885 from 60 donors all over the world. Some donations went as high as $100 from a single donor. Love Tacloban t-shirts are also being sold for $30.
Chris and Jessie then spent their own money on airfare and went over to Tacloban on Valentine’s day. They spent the entire amount raised on care kits, art and school supplies, basket balls, demolition tools, and mosquito nets.
The following infographic describes the breakdown coming from the Love Tacloban website:
- 110 people received items
- 21 basketballs will be used in schools and basketball courts across Tacloban
- 6 demolition tools (with safety gear) will be used to destroy broken houses for brand new ones
- 62 children aged 7-13 have a backpack full of art and school supplies
- 26 girls(and some boys) have yoga mats to practice yoga and meditation
- 13 mosquito nets were donated to our volunteers to lessen their risk of Dengue and Malaria
According to Chris’ post on Reddit, the idea was more impulsive than planned. None of the events were really organized, and they just sort of went with the flow.
The two friends spent a total of 7 days in Tacloban, working with the Gawad Kalinga group of volunteers.
In return, kids from Tacloban used school supplies donated to them and came up with Valentine’s cards to thank their donors.
Play the video at the top of the page to see the results of their efforts.