The network of the Holy Cross community has felt the impact of Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines on Nov. 8, and many on campus were immediately looking for ways to provide relief.
“Having been born in Manila and spending the majority of my childhood there, I was saddened to know so many Filipinos were suffering,” said Paula Vianca Cunanan ’14. Cunanan, along with classmates Jeffrey Reppucci ’14, who interned in summer 2013 with Ambassador Harry Thomas ’78 in Manila, and Keeshia Laus ’14, who was born and lived in Tacloban as a child, organized a family-style dinner to raise awareness about the country, as well as to fundraise for relief efforts. Tickets for the event were $10 each, and there were additional tickets to purchase for raffles and door prizes, as well as opportunities to simply make a donation.
“In the Filipino culture, sharing a meal together is a very interpersonal and important aspect of communal bonding,” said Cunanan. “We thought serving home cooked Filipino food in return for a small donation would be a great way to engage in this cultural experience while raising awareness and helping the Jesuit social action group which is currently in Leyte helping victims.”
The dinner was held Nov. 19 from 5-7 p.m. in the Williams Hall social space. Students, as well as some family members, prepared home-cooked Filipino meals for the event. There were performances by the Spanish Choir, Fusion, Katiuska Fernandez ’15 and Mike Dunbar ’15, Fools on the Hill, a drum circle presentation by the Multicultural Peer Educators, a demonstration of Tinikling dance by Asian Students in Action (ASIA), and Kateri Thekaekara ’14. Pinoy Time Food Mart, a local Filipino grocery store, donated food for the event, and the Holy Cross chaplains’ office donated cookies and drinks.
“We have a really strong Filipino community here, and the pride and commitment of that community really shone in this event,” said Reppucci. In addition to the ad-hoc student committee, the event was supported by a number of existing student groups including ASIA, Campus Activities Board (CAB), and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). More than 150 students, faculty, and staff attended the dinner, and at the end of the night over $2,000 had been raised.
“Being from Tacloban and still having many family and friends there, this fundraising dinner meant a lot to me,” said Laus. “I was overwhelmed with the amount of support that we received from the Holy Cross community, and I know that our donation will make such a difference in my hometown.”
Continuing Opportunities for Disaster Relief
All donations will benefit the Philippine Jesuit Foundation. For more information, please visit the foundation’s website.
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