Labrador Filipino community collects for typhoon victims

Filipinos and businesspeople in Happy Valley-Goose Bay are working to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan relief.
Hamilton Drugs in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has placed a donation can by its cash register in aid of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. (CBC)

Members of the Filipino community in Happy Valley-Goose Bay are joining forces with local businesses to help with the relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan.

Erwin Ponce and Kukai Hunter, two of the 600 Filipinos working in Labrador, are planning fundraisers and soliciting donations around town. 

Ponce said it was scary to see how the natural disaster tore his home country apart.

"It makes you feel bad. What if we were there?" he asked. "That's why we really need to help our fellow countrymen."

Hunter said she couldn't sit idly by.

"We're just asking ourselves, how we can help them? Even in a little or a small [way]," she said.

"We don't want [to be] sitting down here and watching the TV and we can't do anything."

Despite working multiple jobs, including late overnight shifts, Ponce and Hunter are seeking out everyone they know in Happy Valley-Goose Bay who can help.

They're also asking Labrador residents to donate items for an online auction.

Businesses helping out

Hamilton Drugs has placed a donation can next to its cash registers.

"We have a lot of Filipinos here working in our community," said drugstore owner Stephanie Janes.

"We should, at least, lend a hand. Help them where we can."

Irene Alegada, who works at the store, said she feared for the worst when she didn't hear from her 23-year-old son in the days after the typhoon hit.

She has since found out that he's fine, but she knows many others are not.

"It's heartbreaking watching the news, seeing all the dead bodies from the street. It's heartbreaking because we're part of the Philippines too. We're Filipinos who came [from] there, and we're lucky we're here in Canada," she said. 

"We're working and anything that we can help, we will try to help them."

Alegada is relieved that others in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, like her bosses and neighbours, are chipping in.

"Hopefully this will be a great help for them, having fundraising," she said.

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