Volunteers Pack Relief Goods

Volunteers pack relief goods to be distributed to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in Isabel, Leyte, Philippines, on Dec. 1. AP photo

Local News

Typhoon relief effort continues with fundraising concert on Saturday

By From page A1 | January 24, 2014

You can help
Who: Pianist Francesco Attesti and organist Matteo Galli
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: St. James Church, 1275 B St.
Tickets: $30 general, $15 for students; proceeds will go to typhoon relief efforts

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines last November. And Davis — where many residents have connections to the Asian island nation — responded with an effort that has raised nearly $50,000 thus far for typhoon relief, and will continue for many months to come.

Former Davis Mayor Ruth Asmundson — who was born in the Philippines — has been hosting meetings at her home that draw dozens of volunteers, with activities that range from planning sessions for fundraising meals, concerts and wine-tastings to kitchen sessions that produce literally hundreds of tasty lumpia and empanadas (culinary specialties).

All of the efforts are designed to raise money to help people in the hardest-hit areas that took the brunt of the storm rebuild their homes, their businesses and their schools.

There are 10 households in Davis that have family living in the vicinity of the city of Tacloban, which experienced vast destruction as the storm made landfall.

“During phase one of our fundraising effort we sent 30 big boxes — containing clothing, hammers, nails and other relief supplies, to those families,” Asmundson said. “We will be sending more.

“All of them lost their homes,” she continued. “We are helping them to rebuild.”

The work is now in its second phase, Asmundson said: “Our goal is to identify four communities that have the most need, and help the people who live in those communities re-establish their livelihood.

“A lot of them are fishermen,” she continued. “We’re giving them funds to buy family fishing boats. And some of them want to start a cooperative piggery” — what some Americans might call a hog farm. “They also lost their schools, so we want to help them rebuild — elementary schools, mostly.”

First the Davis relief effort will send funds to help with construction of new school building; later on, there will be an effort to assist with providing books and related supplies.

A December luncheon organized by the local and regional Filipino community raised some $49,000 — “and there are still checks coming in,” Asmundson said.

This Saturday, there will be a fundraising concert featuring two touring musicians from Italy.

“They are well-known in their home country, they have released CDs and played at important venues,” said Gamani Jayaweera, one of the concert organizers. “They are also Rotarians, and they are touring the United States, and we were able to bring them here for this fundraiser.”

Upcoming on Feb. 8 will be a wine-tasting event with a silent auction titled “Taste of Hope,” to be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the International House, 10 College Park. Featured will be wines from Bravante Vineyards, a family-owned estate winery on Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley. Bravante’s 2008 Howell Mountain Estate Merlot was judged “Best in Class” at the 2012 San Francisco Wine Competition. Its 2004 Howell Mountain Simpatico Meritage is also highly sought-after.

Plans are also in the works for other fundraisers benefiting typhoon relief, including a possible beer-tasting event in the spring, a summer barbecue and a concert that might feature touring artists from the Philippines.

“We are looking out into the future — this will be a long-term effort,” Asmundson said.

Relief funds are being handled through nonprofit Rotary Club connections that include Davis Rotary and the Rotary Club of Los Baños in the Philippines.

Tickets for Saturday’s concert are $30 general, $15 for students, and are on sale at the Saturday Farmers Market, De Luna Jewelers, Watermelon Music, Konditorei, Little Friends Montessori School and at the door. Tickets also may be reserved by email at [email protected] or by phone through Asmundson at 530-753-7884 or Jayaweera at 530-758-8033.

Donations are also welcome; make checks payable to “Rotary Charities of Davis” with the note “Philippines Typhoon Victims.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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