Sonoma family organize Philippines typhoon relief efforts

In the wake of the super Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippines on Friday, Nov. 8, a Sonoma family is organizing a relief effort to support the storm’s victims. The storm, which is said to be one of the most powerful recorded, with winds of 195 miles an hour and gusts as strong as 235 miles an hour, killed an estimated 10,000 people.

Dulce Silvi, her husband, Greg, and their three children, are asking Sonomans to join their relief efforts and donate canned and dry foods to send to the most devastated area, Tacloban City.

The family is looking for rice, canned sardines and tuna, canned soup and beans. Dulce said they will also accept clothing donations, but she asks that people send only items suitable for tropical weather. The family will bear all shipping costs.

For Dulce, the news of this super storm hit especially close to home.

Dulce was born and raised in Manila and has family that still lives in the area as well as in the hardest-hit Tacloban – all of whom she has made contact with and are OK. Dulce said she and Greg, who was born in Connecticut, met while they were working in the Philippines and were later married there. In 1997, Dulce and Greg moved to the United States.

“What has happened to the people is beyond devastating,” Dulce said. “The help our community will give to them will help them survive, and give them hope that there are people out there who care for them,” she added, noting this effort will save lives, especially children.

Dulce said the family frequently sends goods for impoverished children to communities in the Philippines and will be working to gather items for the typhoon victims over the next two years. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery, so we are looking at doing this in the short term this for the next two years, or at least as long as we keep receiving goods.”

After a catastrophic typhoon paralyzed Manila in 2009, the family sought donations from Sonomans and were surprised at the generosity in the community. “We are hoping to rally the community again to help,” Dulce said. “We have such a generous community in Sonoma and people are always willing to help.”

Dulce said she will work with her sister who lives in Manila and has friends who have helicopters to transport goods to Tacloban, as roads and bridges were destroyed. Her cousin works as a chief surgeon at the Bethany Hospital in Tacloban and will work to distribute the goods.

“We are so blessed to be where we are and I think that we have a great responsibility to be a blessing to others because we have been blessed,” Dulce said.

The family is also considering hosting a fundraiser dinner where they will serve Filipino stew and request at least a $1 donation.

All donations can be dropped off to the family home at 18496 Happy Lane in Sonoma. For more information, email Dulce at dulceasilvi@gmail.com, or call either Greg or Dulce at 933-8223.