Middle TN begins relief efforts after powerful typhoon - WSMV News 4

Middle TN begins relief efforts after powerful typhoon

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Relief efforts are beginning in the Philippines, where thousands are feared dead and many others missing after one of the strongest typhoons in history.

Another day brought another set of images, details and heartache for Jaycel Montealegre.

"Most especially, it hurts me because there's a lot of kids - almost 1.7 million. Almost 1.7 million kids are affected," she said.

Montealegre is the president of the Filipino-American Association of Tennessee, which has more than 750 members in Middle Tennessee.

As of Monday evening, at least 20 local families continue to wait for word from their loved ones.

"We're trying to avoid the news, but we cannot. We have to hear from anybody that might have little or big news from the Philippines," Montealegre said.

In the meantime, the group has a set of fundraisers planned to send much-needed cash, just part of a growing relief push.

At Nashville-based Soles 4 Souls, the nonprofit has a short-term plan to send needed supplies and a long-term plan to help businesses and the economy rebuild.

"We're not first responders, so we want to get behind the people who know how to use bulldozers and get food and water and shelter right away. We like to come in as soon as we can behind that to provide people new shoes and clothes. So that's what we're working on right now," said Soles 4 Souls CEO Buddy Teaster.

Doing so takes money, and the nonprofit urges donations.

So, too, does the American Red Cross, which is already soliciting donations online.

Montealegre just urges all of us to care and not allow this tragedy to just be another sad set of events.

"We live in the same planet, so this is our people. This is our people," she said.

If you do choose to help, the Better Business Bureau sent a warning about giving during this relief effort:

  • Don't make a donation based solely on the charity's name.
  • Look specifically for how the group will help.
  • Don't give items like clothing or cleaning supplies unless you know they have a plan to distribute them.
  • Stick with established disaster charities.
  • Don't donate without doing your research.

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