‘Yolanda’ draws student volunteers in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/15 November)- Unmindful of the heat, students from Liceo de Cagayan University High School, along with other volunteers that include victims of typhoon Sendong in 2011, filled little red plastic bags with rice, noodles, sardines and coffee at the basement of Mt. Carmel Church in Barangay Carmen here.

All of them worked hurriedly, as they need to pack as many little red bags as they could to help feed the starving victims of typhoon Yolanda in Leyte.

“I can not close my eyes and pretend that it did not happened. I have to help,” 15-year-old Abigail Roque said.

She said she immediately volunteered when their teachers asked them if they could go to Mt. Carmel Church and help in the repacking of relief goods.

“Even if we are students we can help. We have our hands and we will work hard. The victims in Leyte are starving and they need this bag,” Roque said.

In all, two class sections of around 40 students from Liceo de Cagayan University answered the call of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 10 office for volunteers.

Roque came with two of her friends—Rochelle Florigin Lumacad, 15, and Denise Loraine Garife, 15.

Together they scooped rice from a sack and carefully pour it to the red plastic bag. After finishing one bag, they would repeat it over and over again.

On that Tuesday afternoon, the students and the other volunteers packed 2,500 relief bags, which they placed in sacks ready for shipment to Leyte.

A little farther to the small basement room, Cobbie Karagdag, was carrying boxes of sardines to the small line of volunteers who were placing the goods to the plastic bags.

The line of volunteers were working very fast that Karagdag and the others had to work double time in supplying them with the boxes of sardines.

“I do not mind sweating and carrying the boxes. I just keep it in mind that people in Leyte are very hungry,” Karagdag, an insurance executive, said.

Karagdag came with his girlfriend, Paola Michelle Pilapil, who was also busy at the other end of the line.

A fashion model, Pilapil said volunteering to pack the bags was “very satisfying” knowing that you help feed the hungry in Leyte.

“If that tragedy happens to me and my family, I would also love to have someone helping us,” she said.

DSWD-10 Director Araceli Solamillo praised the 1,000 volunteers who responded to their call last Tuesday.

“The volunteers are our new heroes. We could not have shipped any relief goods without them. This is truly a Bayanihan spirit,” Solamillo said.

Solamillo said the volunteers were able to prepare at least 20,000 food packs since Tuesday, equally divided for shipment to the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban.

She said the DSWD has allotted P20 million to buy relief food packs for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and the rest of the Visayas affected by the calamity.

“We bought the sardines, noodles, rice and coffee but we need volunteers to pack them,’’ Solamillo said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)