Students working to provide long-term relief to Philippines

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan’s rampage across the Philippines, organizations such as the American Red Cross are working to provide relief for victims. At Geneseo, many individuals are mobilizing as well to help provide support to those affected by this disaster. Thomas Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service, said Livingston CARES has set up a fund to accumulate donations to put toward a long-term project.

“We’re not an emergency care or relief agency; we’re not first responders,” Matthews said. “What we focus on more is when it gets to the recovery phase and we can help with a specific project.”

In the past, Livingston CARES has sent volunteers to the location of a catastrophe to help. After Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the group sent volunteers to New Jersey and Mississippi, respectively, to help rebuild houses. Matthews said, however, that the organization will definitely not send individuals to the Philippines in the wake of this disaster due to the monumental cost of such an endeavor.

Matthews said the benefit of donating to the Livingston CARES fund is that the organization has an overall administrative cost of less than 1 percent. The trade-off is that organizations that keep a larger portion of donations to fuel their administrative expenses, such as the Red Cross, provide more immediate relief.

According to Matthews, if the individual donating is “thinking more in the long-term … Livingston CARES would be one way to assure that the money will go to some worthwhile project.”

As far as what specific projects the organization will foster, Matthews said it is still too early to tell. It will ultimately depend on how much money is raised as well as where aid is needed most.

Coordinator of Student Programs and Activities Tiffany Brodner said many specific student organizations are still in the planning stages of developing events to benefit victims in the Philippines or are still completing the necessary paperwork to receive funding. So far, the only organization to have its funding application approved is Stitches, Geneseo’s knitting and crocheting club. The club plans to sell handcrafted scarves and hats and donate the proceeds to UNICEF to benefit relief efforts in the Philippines.

Even though Geneseo does not plan to send teams to the Philippines, Matthews encouraged individuals to come forward with any ideas for relief projects they may have and said, “We will definitely try to work with them.”