Town reaches out to victims in Philippines

By Lisa Capobianco
Staff Writer
In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Southington community has banded together to help out the hundreds of thousands of victims affected by the devastation.
SouthingtonSOS, an ad hoc humanitarian service committee of leaders of charity organizations, churches, temples, and community-minded volunteers representing all sectors of town, has created a list of organizations that are provide urgent relief efforts. These organizations include United Way, The American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army and Save the Children.
SouthingtonSOS also reached out to the community after the Newtown tragedy.
Dick Fortunato, the media coordinator of SouthingtonSOS, said the efforts of this community-wide group stems from the town’s interest in always wanting to lend a hand.
“SouthingtonSOS comes out of the kind of community Southington has become—people will come together to help each other help,” Fortunato said.
John Myers, a leader of SouthingtonSOS, said his group serves as a “catalyst” for disseminating information to the entire community so residents can choose to help a wide variety of organizations responding to the tragedy. According to the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs, the typhoon has affected over 13 million people in the Philippines, leaving thousands dead and three million displaced.
The Southington school district also plans to play an active role in reaching out to victims. Assistant Superintendent Karen Smith said the district plans to help raise funds for organizations involved in urgent relief efforts.
Here are a list of organizations SOS and what their mission involves, as reported by SouthingtonSOS. United Way USA and all its local partners suggest United Way will distribute the fund to its partners in the Philippines, and contributions are tax deductible for U.S. donors. The Philippine Red Cross has helped with rescue and relief operations. To learn more, go to UNICEF will receive donations to help provide children with clean water, shelter, nutrition and vaccines at The Salvation Army will receive $10 donations through text messages. Send TYPHOON to 80888 or go to their website to sort, ship and distribute donated goods. AT&T and Verizon offer free calls and texts to the Philippines for customers trying to contact loved ones there, and Habitat for Humanity will provide shelter repair kits for families who need to re-build their damaged homes.

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