WBEZ | disaster relief http://www.wbez.org/tags/disaster-relief Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Local Filipino care package companies tackle typhoon relief http://www.wbez.org/local-filipino-care-package-companies-tackle-typhoon-relief-109128 <p><p dir="ltr">As we continue to learn the full extent of the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan, local Filipinos are relying on a longtime tradition of sending &ldquo;balikbayan boxes&rdquo; &mdash; hefty care packages &mdash;&nbsp;to assist in disaster relief. That tradition has become so entrenched in Filipino diaspora culture during the last thirty years that it has spawned an industry in door-to-door delivery, including many balikbayan shipping companies in the Chicago area.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The phenomenon actually boomed when there were a lot of Filipinos who started working in the Middle East,&rdquo; said Alpha Nicolasin, customer service supervisor for Cirera Express Corporation, a balikbayan shipping company based in Niles, IL. &ldquo;Overseas Filipino workers who worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates started sending care boxes. And so the tradition was replicated in other parts of the world, wherever Filipinos are.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">On a normal pick-up stop on Monday, Nicolasin accompanied a driver on a stop to the home of Romy Arietta in Chicago&rsquo;s West Ridge neighborhood. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a mess,&rdquo; Arietta laughed apologetically as he let them into his apartment.</p><p dir="ltr">Near the door, he had stacked three large cardboard boxes, each about five cubic feet and 100 pounds. Slapped onto them were address labels. They were bound for his sister in Quezon City, in the Philippines.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Mostly groceries, clothings, cooking pans and things like that, because they always use it,&rdquo; said Arietta, &ldquo;And some miscellaneous collectibles.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Arietta said he had been gathering the goods to pack in the box for several weeks, and that he sends a box every two months, or so.</p><p dir="ltr">Cirera ships about 1000 boxes each month to the Philippines, always taking a photo of the box with its recipient when it gets there, and e-mailing that photo to the sender in the U.S. as confirmation that it arrived. Though Nicolasin now works on the delivery end of the transactions, she remembers what it was like to receive them. Her aunt once sent balikbayan boxes to her family when Nicolasin was a child in the Philippines.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TH_Alpha_001.jpg" style="height: 169px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Customer Service Supervisor Alpha Nicolasin stands beside the Cirera Express Corporation’s delivery van outside of a Filipino expatriate’s home. (WBEZ/Jian Chung Lee)" /></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In Filipino we say it&rsquo;s amoy America, meaning to say it smells like America because it smells like chocolates, it smells like soap, goodies that come from the States,&rdquo; she recalled.</p><p dir="ltr">Cirera Express and other balikbayan box shipping companies load the boxes that they collect onto trains, which take them from Chicago to California. There they are transferred onto ships that take them to the Philippines by way of Taiwan. Nicolasin said it typically takes 4-6 weeks for them to arrive at the door of their recipients, but shipping by sea makes the service much cheaper than sending the boxes by air via FedEx, or other shipping methods. The typical balikbayan box weighs up to 100 pounds, but only costs $60-$75 to ship.</p><p dir="ltr">In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, local balikbayan companies are putting their energies into relief efforts.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are right now putting together one dedicated container to help the affected areas,&rdquo; said Eladio &ldquo;Toto&rdquo; Baronia, owner of T-Bar International Cargo, a balikbayan company whose warehouse is stationed in Joliet, IL. Baronia said he hopes to fill roughly 500 boxes with donated relief supplies, such as non-perishable food, clothes, and toiletries, to fill a 45-foot long shipping container. On Monday, he was exploring how he could do this at no cost to donors.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;With this magnitude and everybody is wanting to help, and with the help of the Philippine government, we should be able to offer them free if we can be tax exempt,&rdquo; said Baronia. He said even if he doesn&rsquo;t get a tax exemption on shipping the goods, he will try to send boxes at a discounted rate to donors. Cirera Express intends to package and send donated items free of charge.</p><p dir="ltr">Many organizations are focused on providing immediate relief efforts to the Philippines, largely through <a href="http://fan-chicago.org/help-the-philippines-fundraising-events-to-come/">fundraisers</a> intended to assist the Red Cross. But Nicolasin said the balikbayan effort can help further down the road.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really think of it as a good way to address immediate needs, because they need food, they need clothes right now,&rdquo; said Nicolasin. &ldquo;But after the efforts of those who are based in the Philippines have been exhausted, the resources have been exhausted there, at least this is something that would continue to sustain them.<a name="video">&rdquo;</a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gXgDpvh0C2I" width="620"></iframe></p><p>*****</p><p dir="ltr">Donations to Cirera Express should be delivered to their office at 5657 W Howard St, Niles, IL 60714. The office is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, and 9am-4pm on Saturdays. (Nicolasin says its next shipment, scheduled for Wed., November 20 will include donated supplies)</p><p dir="ltr">Donations to <a href="http://www.tbar.ph/">T-Bar International Cargo</a> may be dropped off at its warehouse at 506 Ruby Street, Joliet, IL 60435.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and at <a href="http://www.tbar.ph/">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/local-filipino-care-package-companies-tackle-typhoon-relief-109128 Global Activism: Bright Hope International gives aid and comfort to the extreme poor http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BH_Haiti_fixed_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86395084&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Join Worldview on Saturday, 4/6/13 for WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">6th Annual Global Activism Expo</a>, hosted by the UIC Social Justice Initiative.</strong></em></p><p><a href="http://www.brighthope.org/">Bright Hope International</a> helps faith communities provide aid and assistance to the extreme poor in some of the world&rsquo;s most devastated countries. The group aligns many of its programs with the UN Millennium Development Goals. Some of Bright Hope&#39;s primary goals are in: extreme poverty and hunger eradication; universal primary education; combating infectious disease and promoting environmental sustainability - all this with a focus on gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Bright Hope recently started a program to rescue girls from the sex trade in northern India.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk with Bright Hope&#39;s CEO and president, C.H. Dyer about the group&#39;s work. Dyer has encountered a number of memorable people in his travels:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine Nkandu is a single mother of six from the rural area of Samfya, Zambia. She is thriving after being given the opportunity of a microloan through Bright Hope in 2009. From three years on the program, Justine increased production of beans by 300%. Last year, she harvested 84 gallons of peanuts and used the profits from her farming business to build a house and iron sheets for her roof. &ldquo;My vision is to save money for my children&rsquo;s education before they reach high school, and to maintain food security for my family,&rdquo; she said.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine now feels that she has made enough capital to stand on her own and has requested that the leadership from her church allow her to step aside from the microloan program so that others may benefit. &ldquo;My family no longer worries about where our next meal will come from. We are not poor anymore. Now we can bless others. I thank the Lord for giving me knowledge and wisdom to make me reach this far in sustaining my livelihood and my family,&rdquo; she said. Justine is expecting to double her harvest of peanuts, cassava, and maize this year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 07:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor FEMA denies aid for storm-ravaged southern Illinois http://www.wbez.org/story/fema-denies-aid-storm-ravaged-southern-illinois-97206 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-12/AP120229148693.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois' senators and Gov. Pat Quinn are denouncing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny disaster aid to southern Illinois counties ravaged by tornadoes.</p><p>A powerful Feb. 29 tornado left seven people dead in the&nbsp;southern Illinois community of Harrisburg, and hundreds of homes destroyed across the region. Quinn's office had&nbsp;sought a major disaster declaration for the state and assistance&nbsp;for several southern counties. In denying the request, FEMA said&nbsp;the damage was not "beyond the capabilities of the State, affected&nbsp;local governments and voluntary agencies."</p><p>Gov. Quinn released a statement Sunday in response to FEMA's decision, saying he was "extremely disappointed."</p><p>"After personally surveying the damage and talking to many residents who lost their homes, I firmly believe federal assistance is crucial to help them begin the recovery process," the statement said. The governor's office has 30 days to submit an appeal to FEMA.</p><p>Sen. Dick Durbin told Illinois Public Radio&nbsp;the lack of federal funds will make it tough on local government, businesses and individuals affected by the storms.</p><p>"Without the federal designation, there are limited opportunities for federal help. And take a look at what's happening here with our own state treasury. There's a limited opportunity there to compensate for these losses," he said. "I have just never seen worse devastation, and I find it hard to imagine that it didn't qualify."</p><p>Sens. Durbin and Mark Kirk said Sunday they have&nbsp;requested a meeting with FEMA leadership and would seek to overturn&nbsp;the ruling.</p></p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 10:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fema-denies-aid-storm-ravaged-southern-illinois-97206