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NH reaches out to Philippines

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 11. 2013 10:00PM
Julita Butler of Manchester, a member of the Filipino American Charitable Trust, is among those organizing aid for the typhoon-stricken country. (Dave Solomon/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Julita M. Butler of Manchester hasn’t heard from her sister and five adopted children in the Philippines since typhoon Haiyan hit.

“We’re very concerned for them,” said Butler, a member of the Filipino American Charitable Trust (FACT-NH). “They were five minutes from the airport, which was totally destroyed.”

President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity Monday as the death toll mounted; at least 10,000 are dead in the central Philippines and more than 600,000 are displaced countrywide.

“Thursday night I talked to my sister, and she said the wind was starting to really blow, and all we can do is hope and pray,” said Butler of her sister in San Jose. The five children range in age from 10 to 22.

Butler and her fellow Filipinos have mobilized and are being met with broad support at every turn.

As soon as Genevieve Santiago found out about the devastation, she approached her bosses at Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt at the Mall of New Hampshire and asked for their help.

“I told my manager I wanted to fund-raise under our organization’s name and they accepted,” said the teen president of the Filipino American Friendship Society of New Hampshire (FAFS-NH), a registered non-profit based in Bedford.

Managers at the frozen yogurt franchise agreed to allow FAFS-NH donation boxes at all three locations in New Hampshire, and are considering a fund-raising day in which portions of the day’s sales would be dedicated to typhoon relief.

Santiago discussed the timing and placement of the boxes at locations in Manchester, Nashua and Salem as she and other members of the Filipino community met Monday afternoon to discuss relief efforts at an office building on South Willow Street owned by a FAFS-NH member.

The charitable trust is the fund-raising arm of the friendship society, and will be the vehicle for most of the relief efforts in New Hampshire.

Drop-off locations

In addition to donation boxes at the frozen yogurt franchises, FACT-NH has arranged for three drop-off locations for donated goods to be shipped to the Philippines: 16 South Willow St., second floor; Pigeon’s Market on 168 Wilson St., in Manchester; and at the Rodeway Inn, 788 Laconia Road, in Tilton, N.H.Those locations will be up and running by this morning, with more in the works, said Josie Janz, another officer with the FACT-NH group.

Items needed include summer clothing, school supplies, bedding and towels, toiletries, canned goods, diapers and non-perishable foods.

Tax-deductible cash donations can be made by selecting the “donate” button at the home page of the charitable trust,

Checks payable to the Filipino American Charitable Trust, with “Typhoon Haiyan relief” in the memo line, can be mailed to Tita Thompson, 43 McAllister Road, Bedford, 03110.For more information or to volunteer, call Thompson, president of FACT-NH, at 472-5461; or Jocelyn Santiago, president of the Filipino American Friendship Society, at 669-9871.

Other fund-raising events are planned in the near future, including a Filipino cultural celebration.

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