Dante Parado knew he had to do something.
The Hanover Park resident who was born in the Philippines and lived there until he was 13 couldn't believe his eyes as he watched the news about Typhoon Haiyan. The storm ripped across the Philippines on Nov. 8, destroying whole towns and killing thousands of people.
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Typhoon reliefThe Filipino American Network of Chicago has a list of relief efforts in Chicago and the suburbs on its website, fan-chicago.org. The not-for-profit group's phone number is (773) 236-2614.
"It was heartbreaking," Parado said. "I have an uncle who lives in one of the areas that was hit. He's fine, thank God. But the devastation really made me sad."
Parado talked to several friends about organizing a fundraiser to help with relief efforts. They decided to hold a small and private running event, something that between 30 and 50 of their friends could participate in.
The run will be held Nov. 23 in Schaumburg. But it won't be private. And it won't be just 50 people participating. As of Thursday evening, more than 350 had signed up.
"It's such a blessing," Parado said of the response. "It makes me feel so good to see people stepping up to help after a calamity like this."
Since the typhoon hit, people and organizations all over the suburbs have tried to help. Allegretti's Pizza in Des Plaines has installed a drop box for monetary donations at 933 E. Oakton St. The Glendale Heights Barangay Lions Club will send a portion of the proceeds from an upcoming Christmas caroling event to the relief effort. The Northwest Filipino Baptist Church in Elk Grove Village is hosting a night of prayer and fundraising on Nov. 24. And those are just a few efforts.
"The response has been amazing," said Michelle Lura White, a Rolling Meadows resident and executive director of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago. "So many are getting involved, and it's not just the Filipino community that's doing it."
The fundraising walk in Schaumburg will start at 10:30 a.m. in front of Dick Pond Athletics, 927 S. Roselle Road. It will include a 5-kilometer run and walk through the surrounding neighborhood. Local businesses have agreed to provide assistance, including My Sweet Kake in Schaumburg, Tangerine Promotions in Northbrook and Dick Pond Athletics.
More details can found at the event's Facebook page. (Search for "Fundraiser Fun Run/Walk for Typhoon Haiyan.")
The Northwest Filipino Baptist Church, meanwhile, will host several other Filipino churches in the area for a special prayer service dedicated to victims of the storm at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the church, 1900 Nerge Road, Elk Grove Village. Attendees will have a chance to donate money and supplies to the relief cause that night. For details, go to the church's website at nfbc.net.
"Money is key right now, because it travels a lot faster," said the Rev. Jay Catanus, pastor of the church. "But we'll be accepting goods, too."
Nerissa Allegretti, a Glenview resident whose family owns Allegretti's and the Midwest regional coordinator for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, agreed that monetary donations are the best way to help at this point.
"Financial donations are so important," said Allegretti, a native of the Philippines. "My heart goes out to all the people suffering because of this."
Glendale Heights is home to a sizable Filipino community, so there wasn't much doubt that the village would do something, said Tanya Macko, the village's community outreach specialist. But in light of reports that relief agencies have already been flooded with donated supplies, and that it's taking a long time for those supplies to get to the devastated areas, the village is encouraging residents to donate money right now.
Tips on how to donate are included in the "Latest News" section of Glendale Heights' website, glendaleheights.org.
"We'll take look at doing some kind of collection early in the new year, probably in conjunction with the Lions Club," Macko said. "But in the short term, we want to encourage residents who can to help by giving money. It seems like that will do the most good at this moment."
The Glendale Heights Barangay Lions Club already plans to donate a portion of its proceeds from this year's "Christmas Carols for the Needy" event to the Philippines Disaster Relief Program. The caroling will take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 30 through Dec. 22. For information, go to ghbarangayil.org.
Residents looking for other relief efforts in the city and suburbs should visit the website of the Filipino American Network of Chicago, which lists such events on its homepage. The website can be found at fan-chicago.org.