Last Saturday I attended a fundraiser to help the typhoon victims of the Philippines, called The South Bay Cares. It was organized in record time, and had countless volunteers from the South Bay area of Los Angeles who helped pull it off.
The event was organized by two friends of mine from beach volleyball: Patrick Mejia and Alffy Guido.
Alffy, originally from the Philippines, explained why it was so important to organize this event: “I wasn’t really planning on having a fundraising event because I was worried that no one would support it, because there are so many fundraising events happening in the community. But I wanted to do this for my country.”
Patrick had a similar reaction: “I started to watch CNN and their main news story was the devastation caused by the typhoon, and how it affected millions of Filipinos. I started to get depressed, so I felt the need that we should do something instead of just watching TV as more news developed. I kinda figured that a few of us working together could stir the pot and make the South Bay community come together to help out.”
So Patrick, Alffy, and a team of volunteers locked down a community hall in Hermosa Beach, found musical talent, silent auction donations, and a group of guys and gals from the area to participate in a live date auction, which came with gift certificates to local restaurants.
Not only that, but Alffy and crew also collected tons of donations like clothing, shoes, and toiletries to be shipped over to the Philippines. They also cooked traditional Filipino dishes for everyone to enjoy at the fundraiser. To say they got a lot of physical donations is an understatement! There were bags of donations piled a mile high.
“Donations are going to ABS-CBN FOUNDATION,” explains Guido. “After carefully researching all of the different great organizations that are rushing in to help the Philippines, we have chosen ABS-CBN FOUNDATION – SAGIP KAPAMILYA (which means Save Our Families). ABS-CBN is one of the biggest foundations in the Philippines that are very reliable, and 100% trusted by the Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad. ABS-CBN itself is the biggest and only TV network that has the resources to reach and cover all the affected areas.”
Hundreds of people turned up to the event to enjoy the delicious food, live music, and the hilarious and fun live date auction. But it also had serious moments where members of the Filipino community talked about how the typhoon (and also the recent earthquake) has affected their friends and families there. Sometimes these tragic events seem so far away and and you don’t feel like you really make a difference, but seeing people who are from there talking about how our donations are directly affecting their loved ones in a positive way, really makes the world feel small.
So how much did the event raise? Alffy estimates more than ten thousand dollars, and checks are still coming in.
I have to say, this is what I love most about living in the South Bay. It was not some black tie, Beverly Hills event. This was just a bunch of locals coming together to try and do what they can to make the world a better place. Everyone pitched in and it was a very grassroots effort.
“I moved to the South Bay five years ago and I think I only had ten American friends,” says Guido. Living in the South Bay, particularly Hermosa Beach, is like living in one house. Everyone knows each other. Everyone cares about each other, and everyone is just super friendly. I cannot count how many American friends I have now. Maraming Salamat Po (Thank you very much)”
If you want to send donations to ABS-CBN Foundation International, please go to their website at abscbnfoundation.org.