There is a saying that “when someone helps you and they are struggling too, that’s not help. That’s love.”
That seems to be the mantra by which many private companies or employers in the CNMI abide by—they themselves have suffered economic losses from Super Typhoon Yutu, yet they continue to be strong for their employees and the larger CNMI community.
Aside from the efforts of the local government and federal agencies, private companies have responded and are working the extra mile.
DFS president Marian Aldan-Pierce said that DFS, which runs T Galleria in Garapan, may be an international company but it is also a local business. “We look forward to resuming normal operations… but for now, we remain focused on helping families to rebuild their lives,” she said.
Relief measures that DFS has mobilized for staff and residents include shower, laundry facilities, and fresh water supply.
The company set up an online fundraising site and committed to match all donations of DFS employees around the world, with a target of $100,000 in individual pledges. DFS divisions in Southeast Asia and Hawaii to date have contributed $50,000.
“We will do everything we can help the people of Saipan to recover from the effects of Super Typhoon Yutu,” promised DFS Group chairman and CEO Ed Brennan.
Last Tuesday, DFS initiated a lagoon cleanup from Oleai Beach to First Hawaiian Bank. Yesterday, they sent a team to Mt. Carmel School to help get classrooms ready for next week’s school opening.
Star Water made sure to open on the day after the storm and distributed free drinking water in places like Chalan Kanoa and Dandan. They also distributed 200 tickets for free refills at the Sta. Soledad Parish in Kagman.
Last Thursday, E-Land gave out free water at two of their hotels: Coral Ocean Point and at Pacific Islands Club Saipan.
TanHoldings Corp turned its TSL Sports Complex in Gualo Rai into a temporary shelter, with 31 beds, for employees who lost their homes and had no place to stay after the typhoon.
“Currently, there are a total of 11 families staying at the gym,” said TSL Foundation manager Merlie Tolentino.
For other employees seeking shelter, TanHoldings Corp. gave them a chance to avail of a “staycation package”—a four night-stay at the Kanoa Resort—for free.
Last Friday, the company also contributed $10,000 to relief assistance provided by the Philippine Consulate General of Guam.
Bridge Capital LLC provided food to families in shelters. To celebrate Halloween, Bridge Capital employee Neil Fama performed a magic show and distributed candies to children at the Saipan Southern High School shelter.
IT&E gave its data subscribers 50 gigabytes of 4G LTE data for free. They also gave their employees free telecom service until the end of the year.
Calvo’s Insurance marketing director Marcia Calvo said they are working with their underwriters and partners in getting supplies to Guam and then to Saipan. “Calvo’s Insurance is definitely working on getting supplies on island such as water, pillows, futons, blankets and battery-operated or solar-powered fans. We expect these to arrive end of this week or early next week,” she added
Aside from doing outreach with MYPros and the Salvation Army, the focus of Paradise Dental is it its employees, according to Donna Krum. “We had a team lunch last week, trying to get everyone together to give them hope and keep the morale high. On Friday is our third year anniversary and we plan to take them out to a really nice dinner,” she added.
Somewhere in Okinawa, Japan, a private citizen who is 10 years old, Haven Taylor Tenorio Magatas, the daughter of Dirk and Monique Tenorio Magatas, was able to raise $170 in a fundraising campaign and bought hygiene supplies such as toothbrush, shampoos and soap that will be given to children at shelters on Saipan.
Other private companies have also extended their help to the community, to their employees and are still rallying to raise funds to help typhoon victims. Others have organized free movie showings, while others gave away food.