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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gators, local businesses donating to Typhoon Haiyan relief

Local nonprofits and students are stepping up to offer relief for victims of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last week.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations through its local branch. Melanie Saxon, the executive director of the American Red Cross North Central Florida Chapter, said it is using social media to inform people of the need for aid.

“The disaster is so huge, and there will be large sums of money needed,” she said. “Locally, we have people contacting us looking for loved ones in the Philippines. We definitely can help with that.”

Some restaurants are also chipping in.

Sushi Chao, Hiro Asian Sandwich Bistro, three Mochi locations and both Bento Cafe locations will donate 20 percent of their sales Monday night. The donation period will run from 5 p.m. to close.

Kellen Wright, a 20-year-old UF anthropology junior, is a UF Health Shands Hospital nursing assistant who has a connection to the Philippines through her co-workers.

“They are like my second mothers,” Wright said. “They are the generation who moved to Gainesville, but they have a strong connection to their original home in the Philippines.”

When hearing of the tragedy that happened in her co-workers’ country, Wright decided to act as a liaison between the nurses and her sorority.

With the help of her Alpha Delta Pi sisters, Wright has been collecting toys, money, clothes and other items to send to the Philippines.

“I think when you have the opportunity to help people, you should take it,” she said. “It makes the world go ’round.”

Jade Castro, a 19-year-old UF journalism sophomore who has family in the Philippines, said she believes Gainesville efforts can make a difference.

“The Philippines needs to recover,” she said. “And they don’t have the resources to do it themselves.”

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A version of this story ran on page 8 on 11/15/2013 under the headline "Locals donate to typhoon relief"

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