Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Angels of Hope reaches out to the Philippines

Zita and Alicia Demaree, above, fill boxes of clothes to send as care packages to needy people in Cebu City on Cebu island in the Philippines as part of their AJD Angels of Hope service project.   The mother-daughter team is seeking donations to cover costs of shipping the boxes. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | August 18, 2011 |

It all started the summer of 2009 with a trip to the Philippines.

A mother and daughter were merely hoping to reconnect with their Filipino heritage, but they returned from the islands with much more than they had anticipated.

Zita Demaree, a budget and finance assistant at UC Davis, along with her daughter, Alicia, a 17-year-old swimming instructor, traveled to Zita’s home town of Cebu City, on the island of Cebu in the central area of the Philippines. During their trip, they were forced to seek shelter when one of the car tires burst on a mountain road.

After witnessing the poor condition of the rural community, Alicia came up with the idea of starting a service project to aid the people of Cebu by sending them balikbayan — or “return to the motherland” boxes — care packages filled with non-perishable food, toiletries, toys, clothing and other items.

“It was a very eye-opening experience for me,” said Alicia, reflecting on her initial experience of the Filipino city.

She has been active ever since that first trip, starting the project AJD Angels of Hope — “AJD” are Alicia’s initials. She incorporated the nonprofit organization a year ago and has sent 14 boxes to Cebu since January.

The Demarees also have a branch “office” in Cebu, mostly composed of Zita’s family. They provide people with canned food and some medical and/or dental care approximately every two months. Zita usually communicates every day with her family, “coordinating outreach programs and box shipments.” Facebook also provides a way for both groups to view each other’s progress from different sides of the globe.

Zita, who grew up on the island of Bohol — just across from Cebu — was shocked by the poor living conditions she found upon her return.

Cebu features many nipa huts, or bahay kubo, which are often constructed with bamboo and tied together with nipa leaves. The huts were indigenous to the Philippines even before the Spaniards arrived. In modern Cebu, some areas have huts cramped so closely together that everyday life is claustrophobic.

In recent years, the situation has gotten worse. Cebu’s population continues to grow exponentially, especially in its poorest areas where unemployment rates also are on the  rise. Many families are left unable to feed themselves.

These inhospitable conditions were most apparent in Cebuan children, Zita recalled.

“Some of the local children I met told me that they had to walk up to six miles everyday to get to school. Sometimes, they even ate food from the dumpsters to stay alive,” she said.

The idea of stepping in to  help is nothing new to the Demarees. Before their trip to the Philippines, Zita and Alicia did service projects together through their Girl Scout group for about 10 years. As the group’s leader, Zita was enthusiastic about the cause.

“It’s teaching girls the need to help others,” she said.

Before coming to the United States, Zita was instilled with the idea of service. She learned about it from the Catholic church and put it into practice by helping many of her family members who suffered from cancer. Those experiences led to her firm commitment to helping others.

“Service was always very important in my family,” she said.

While there is much enthusiasm in the islands, the mother-daughter duo are disappointed with the lack of response from other service organizations in Davis. Even local churches have failed to fully support AJD Angels of Hope, yet, they said.

Therefore, they turned their focus elsewhere to promote their group.

“The Farmers Market has given us the opportunity to promote for AJD — but it’s not enough,” Zita said.

The cargo company LBC donated boxes to AJD Angels of Hope last year. However, this year, the group was left on its own.

Garage sales have proved an effective way to find cheap goods to send to Cebu. But without a shipping company’s support, it has become more difficult for the group to afford sending boxes as frequently.

Zita has been using money out of her own pocket to keep the operation going.

Space also has become an issue. The Demarees have been forced to store all of the boxes in their home until they can afford to send them.

In recent months, the group has sought help from the students at UC Davis.

“I’ve been trying to collaborate with some Filipino groups on campus, but nothing has quite happened yet,” Zita said.

Zita’s job at UCD is full-time, and Alicia’s schedule has become busier as she prepares to hopefully study video game design at Loyola Marymount University.

With more to do and little time to do it, the Demarees’ need for an intern also has become more essential. The job would be unpaid and would include responsibilities such as “managing the website, representing the group at Farmers Markets, and promoting,” Zita said.

In spite of all the struggles however, Zita remains optimistic.

“I feel rewarded by my work, especially when thank-you notes come in from Cebu,” she said.

In the future, depending on finances, AJD Angels of Hope may even extend its aid beyond Cebu, into other parts of the Philippines.

“It’s just a matter of time and money,” she added.

Unfortunately at the moment, the group can barely afford to send the boxes it has. AJD Angels of Hope is looking for sponsors to help send packages.

“Sixty-five dollars per box would be a great help to us,” Zita said.

For more information, visit ajdangelsofhope.org.

PayPal donations can be made by email to ajdemaree@yahoo.com.

Comments

comments

.

News

Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Bauer garden marks one year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Grande site has been a convoluted saga

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

.

Forum

Already made herself at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Keep our green waste piles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

How to make a good living

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
This epidemic should scare us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

 
.

Sports

Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

 
California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

 
Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

Wanda P. Daley

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8