Humannected: A World Without Strangers
by Steven Cross
Angeles City, Pampanga
On August 22, 2020, we were approaching Zapote, Las Piñas going to Cavitex when we saw this big smoke and we knew that there’s a fire happening in that area. When we got near, I took a few pictures and posted it on my Facebook account. At the end of the day, a friend of mine commented on my post saying that her friend’s family are one of the many people who lost their house by the ravaging fire and they are now in dire need of any help.
I didn’t think twice, I immediately sent a private message to my friend and asked her where I can send our old clothes. I also posted a message to the HAPI group chat to check if someone has any old clothes that they can donate. Good thing that some of HAPI members showed their support and wanted to donate.
August 23, 2020 – my friend created a group chat (GC) to better coordinate with each other as we provide help. We were on our way to the covered court where all affected families are currently staying for the moment when Jhellica told me that donating clothes are very much welcome and appreciated however, what they really need is food. I was stunned. Closed my eyes for a few minutes for me to able to think a way to help her.
I checked my wallet and I still have extra two thousand pesos. I asked my bestfriend and partner how much do they think for 1 sack of rice and some noodles and can of sardines. We went straight to this store who sells a sack of rice at a reasonable price and so we purchased it right away. We then went to Puregold but sadly it’s already closed. It’s 5:45 PM when we arrived at Super 8 store and good thing they allowed us to go inside and purchase noodles and sardines. We got all that we need. We went back home and we started to re-pack the rice with 2 noodles and 1 can of sardines. We were able to have a total of 19 packs and 4 packs of sardines/noodles without rice. I contacted Jhellica and told her the good news that we are on our way to the covered court where they were staying.
Finally, got the chance to meet Jhellica outside the covered court. We had to meet her outside the court because the goods that I donated were not much and don’t want to create more ruckus by having people fight over the goods, as well since I did not have proper coordination with the group who are in charge with donations for them.
Instead, she promised me that she will distribute the goods that I gave to each family. I asked her if the LGU already gave them the assurance or plan on what will do next about them. She told me that so far there’s no plan yet.
She told me also that aside from goods and foods. They also need toiletries and old fans that can still use. As per Jhellica, there’s 25 total of families inside the covered court that lost their houses and everything because of the fire.
I told Jhellica but did not promise that I will do my best to help her. If anyone could share something in kind or in cash to help Jhellica and other 24 families. Please, send a private message to me.
Someone asked me why I help people that I totally don’t know. This was my response —- “As a humanist and member of Hapi Humanist this is what I do and my advocacy. I help because I know how it feels to be helpless but most importantly, I would like to bring back the humanity in all of us. I’m not expecting anything in return. I just want to help in the best way I can.”