Charity group tries to help Philippine city

By Kate Chopelas

The Asian American Center and Rotaract Club paired up to help displaced people in Zamboanga Tuesday.

The Asian American Center held a charity talk for students and community members who were interested in learning about the Zamboanga crisis. The center shared Asian foods that displaced families eat. Rotaract Club is a student organization that focuses its efforts on charity work.

Zamboanga in the southern Philippines has seen tension as a religiously segregated city. Fighting destroyed the city and displaced thousands of people. The Asian American Center asked that visitors donate the money they would have spent on lunch and eat the provided rice and water so they may know how the Zamboangans are struggling.

“I think it is a good idea to donate your money for lunch,” said Rotaract Club secretary Anna Kordek. “Instead of eating a nutrient-rich food, you’re eating what they eat on a daily basis.”

The donated money will be given to the Asia Foundation, which has a branch of workers on the ground in the Philippines working with those who are struggling.

“When disasters happen, it’s hard to keep track of where resources should go,” said Tagalog instructor Rhodalyne Crail.

Crail said the charity provides a learning experience for students in and outside of the center.

Rotaract Club treasurer Isabelle Squires was interested in involving herself and the club into the crisis, as she was in the Philippines this summer and Zamboanga is not far from where she was staying.

“There is quite a big income disparity in the Philippines, a lot of people on streets, people begging for food,” Squires said. “A lot of children are malnourished and a lot of people don’t have food to eat.”