PARMA, Ohio - Members of northeast Ohio's Filipino community gathered Monday night in Parma to discuss ways to aid in the relief effort in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
"We're trying to figure out what is the best way to help immediately and over the long time," said Armando Damian of the Philippine American Society of Ohio. "This is probably the biggest disaster the Philippines has ever had."
Many of those gathered represented various organizations but also carried personal stories of anguish caused by the massive storm. Alicia Tupaz is founder of the Philippine Nurses Association of Ohio but she also comes from Leyte Island, which was one of the places hardest hit. Her sister, nieces, nephews and cousins still live there.
"I started crying and praying they're alive," Tupaz said. "The one person we can still not get a hold of is my niece who is a lawyer in the bank and her husband is a doctor in Tacloban," she said. "So I don't know if she's still alive."
On hand were representatives of the American Red Cross who said the quickest way to help is through monetary donations.
"Often people want to give us items to donate and those are very difficult to move in a situation like this," said Christine Moran of the American Red Cross in Cleveland.
Financial donations can be immediately placed in the hands of the Philippine Red Cross who is on the ground already she said.
"If people want to donate they can go to RedCross.org or 1-800-REDCROSS," she said.