An organization in San Diego made up of former residents of the CNMI and those who have roots on the islands have launched a fundraising campaign for Rota after hearing news that its residents are short of essential commodities in the wake of Typhoon Vongfong last week.
Those wishing to donate can do so by retyping the link www.gofundme.com/cnmisclub. GoFundMe is a crowd-funding platform that allows people to raise money for events ranging from life events such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses.
CNMI San Diego Club president David Atalig said the fundraising campaign for the southernmost island of the Commonwealth came about after a couple of members came to him who were concerned about the situation on Rota, especially the shortage of food after Typhoon Vongfong hit the island last Oct. 6.
“We, as a club, decided to assist and have a fundraiser because they wanted to donate and help. We figure we can assist by taking donations online via the gofundme.com and link it to our CNMI San Diego Club’s bank account,” Atalig said.
Atalig, who used to be financial and administrative services director of the Northern Marianas College, said the organization hopes to raise $3,000 for its Rota relief efforts.
“I would like to thank all those who donated and those who will be donating. I appreciate their thoughtfulness for our family and friends on Rota and the CNMI. The CNMI San Diego Club is willing to give all those that donate an official receipt to get a tax credit for their donation,” he said in a social media message to Saipan Tribune.
Atalig is currently the finance director of the housing, dining, and hospitality department of the University of California-San Diego.
“My message to the people of Rota is that we may be miles apart but our love and support will link us together. We will do our best to help our brothers and sisters, not only on Rota, but the whole CNMI. We pray for those that are displaced and hope for all to return back to normal,” he said.
The CNMI San Diego Club has several hundred members and is officially a recognized non-profit organization—a 501(c)(3)—organization, according to Atalig.
Typhoon Vongfong left 180 people on Saipan, 25 people on Tinian, and 22 people on Rota seeking refuge at the respective designated emergency shelters on the three islands.
On Rota, three Bangladeshi nationals lost their home made of tin and wood when Typhoon Vongfong blew it away early morning of Oct. 6.