My name is XYZ, I live in San Francisco, California and I want to give my heart and hands to the Philippines. My company recently announced a company closure from 12/23 to 1/1. I plan on using this time to travel to the Philippines to give my support and explore the country.
Reason why I'm reaching out to you is to see if you have any resources or know of any organizations that can utilize my help in Cebu. I completed an application for All Hands Volunteers but unfortunately have not heard back from them yet. (http://hands.org/announcing-project-leyte/) I know there are a lot of organizations on the ground there but their application process is time consuming, which I do not have any of.
Therefore, I plan to land in Cebu and just go! Ask around, travel to the effected areas and hope that my offer to help will be taken.
Do you know of anyone who I can reach out to directly or can you provide any insight on where I can go that I'll be welcome? I really don't know what to expect there, housing wise, transportation, etc. so I'm looking for resources to help guide me.
So nice of you to write me and great of you to want to help! You spirit is wonderful and your heart is in the right place! I would recommend you contact the Red Cross, Direct Relief, and some of the other big organizations you see are active in disaster relief here. Check with them if there is an opportunity to come volunteer because they'll have procedures, organization, training, safety measures, etc. to do it wisely and effectively.
You may not want to hear this, but being honest with you, just showing up in Cebu and trying to help is not a great idea. The worst damaged areas are far away in Leyte and you can't just fly in there and hit the ground and start working. It would be extremely dangerous and just getting to and from the right place would take more than a week. Maybe the best plan is to donate some money directly to the great organizations who have trained, qualified, long-term workers on the ground? I know you really want to help, but you'll find a lot of confusion and wasted time and money if you just fly into Cebu and start asking around to help - or worse, get scammed. If you want to come to the PI then by all means do so for a vacation, and you can help the local economy with your tourism dollars, and when you leave, you can make a well-placed donation? Or maybe you can organize and throw a big fundraiser back home? I am currently living on the island of Boracay and have focused my efforts into a big beach party, Boracay Cares, December 20 that will raise money for the Red Cross' aid to typhoon victims.
I wish I had better news for you, but like I said, your heart is in the right place and I commend you for being so giving! Perhaps you have other assets and gifts that are more efficiently assigned to helping these people?
Please let me know if you need any other help.