The Rotary Club of Saipan was able to raise a total of $3,700 during its garage sale that was intended to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Palau and the Philippines.
Rotary Club president Leila Y. Boyer said the civic organization will donate part of the proceeds to the Rotary Club of Koror.
“We want to thank the community for coming out for supporting our first garage sale for Rotary. We were able to raise about $3,700 that we will be looking at donating to both Palau and the Philippines. But we are concentrating our efforts in Palau,” said Boyer during an interview with the Saipan Tribune last week.
The garage sale was held Nov. 30 at the parking lot of Associated Insurance.
Boyer said that helping Palau makes sense because the Rotary Club of Saipan sponsored the chartering of the local Rotary Club back in the 1980s.
“The Rotary Club of Koror is our charter club. Back in the 1980s we sponsored the club. So we felt that in this great time of need we need to reach out and help our fellow Rotarians in Palau,” she said.
Boyer said the garage sale was a huge success as Rotarians came in droves and donated stuff such as household items, toys, books, farm implements, glassware, and crystal.
In an interesting twist, Boyer said that some of those who bought stuff at the garage sale plan to send the items to their loved ones in the central Philippines, which bore the brunt of Haiyan last November.
“What’s interesting is we were told by the relief organizations that monetary donations are better. So instead of shipping the items we turned it into money. What happened was families were coming out and buying clothing items for their families in the Philippines. We thought it was interesting and it’s better because it’s individual and goes directly to the families affected.”
‘Monetary donation is still best’
American Red Cross-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh reiterated that when it comes to assistance for disasters, monetary donation is still the best.
“Monetary is the best. If you go to the major international aid agencies they’re all telling you to give monetary gifts and don’t give in-kind,” he told Saipan Tribune during MDX Amateur Club’s turnover of a $500 check to the humanitarian organization recently.
He said the local chapter of the Red Cross would continue to accept monetary donations until the end of December. He added that nationwide the Red Cross has received over $35 million for Haiyan and that “it’s only going to be used for there.”
Hirsh said the Philippines is a large country with a lot of resources and it doesn’t necessarily need a box of clothing from Saipan.
“Even though it’s a nice gesture and it’s a very thoughtful thing to do, the logistics of trying to get one box of clothes or 10 boxes of clothes to a family in Leyte or Cebu or Tacloban right now is just going to be practically impossible. That is unless you know someone there. Maybe you know a church or you have an associate or a business contact where you can send these things directly to that person and then he has a church that he can give it out to.”