Students join links of hope for victims
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 8, 2013 1:50 AM
Wayne Community College student Caleb Grant adds links to the chain he and some fellow students are creating to fund disaster relief in the Phillipines. For 50 cents, anyone can purchase a link, with the money raised to be contributed to American Red Cross.
Carmelita Abad has lived in Goldsboro with her military husband for nine years.
But growing up in the Philippines, she still has vivid memories of life in the eye of a typhoon -- the intense winds and rain that ravage the landscape, the aftermath of trying to locate loved ones, seeking shelter and food.
So when she heard about the Nov. 8 typhoon that wreaked havoc on her homeland, her initial reaction was to check on family members.
"Facebook is my only way of communicating with them because they don't email," she said.
The couple were among the fortunate. Their families live in a region that was not struck by the storm.
"So far, none of our relatives, which thank the Lord for that, were hit or affected," she said.
The English as a Second language student at Wayne Community College said she was touched by the reaction on campus.
"The day after the typhoon hit, everybody asked me how they can help," she said. "I don't want to just take money and use it for my own use. I don't know how to help from here."
She also expected the interest to wane.
"People forget a few weeks after something happens, so they go back to their normal lives, their normal routines, because I'm sure it's painful because some are still missing, some are reuniting with their loved ones who have been away," she said. "You try to go into a shelter but they'll know, we have to go and buy food.
"I'm aware of how much is felt mentally for the people, especially going out after the typhoon."
Mrs. Abad was surprised to since learn that several student groups are participating in an effort to raise money for relief efforts by the American Red Cross.
"My heart sank because how much people still care about my fellow man, how much they're willing to help," she said. "Because this is like, we had the typhoon hit us almost every year and this is a big one."
Caleb Grant and Jacob Pawvluk, students in the humanities leadership class, are spearheading the campus project, which started out as a class assignment that grew into so much more.
"It was better knowing it was something that did really need help," Grant said. "It wasn't just something you do to get a grade. You know it's something that will make an impact."
Grant had already seen the importance of outreach, having worked on a project last year when Hurricane Sandy struck the East coast. Students held a fundraiser for Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey, to replace books and anything else destroyed by the storm.
Tara Humphries, public information officer at WCC, said $2,573 was raised then -- $1,573 from contributions, $1,000 matched by the college's president, Dr. Kay Albertson. She also noted that $700 of the general amount came from a group led by Grant.
The current effort can be seen by anyone passing through the Atrium at the college or climbing the stairwell to the library. A paper chain already lines the upper deck, with each link representing a 50-cent donation to the cause.
The goal is to raise $1,000, which equates to a chain of 2,000 paper links, one for each of the occupied Philippine islands.
Even for the struggling college student, the goal seems reasonable, Grant said.
"Everybody has 50 cents," he said. "Everybody has some pocket change. If that's all you're asking for, then nobody is exempt. Everybody can help."
"In situations like this, everybody wants to help but they just feel overwhelmed," said student Andre Selby, who is active in several of the organizations participating in the drive. The education major in the Partnership East teacher program is vice president of the Student Government Association and part of 3MG, the male mentoring group, and CRU, or Campus Crusade for Christ.
"I feel like the typhoon or hurricane, that's tough. People that want to help, they have to be tougher. If you can't start a program, be part of one. Every little bit helps."
Ms. Humphries said the fundraiser doesn't have to be limited to students and staff, or contained on the college campus.
"We would love the public to jump in, and we'll do a link for every 50 cents we get," she said.
For more information or to make a donation, call 919-739-7002.