Dancing for Typhoon Victims: Raising Money to Help the Philippines Recover

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Iowans with ties to Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines are working to help in any way they can.

Nearly a month has passed since the storm ravaged Southeast Asia. The death toll has surged passed 5,000. Reports are calling Typhoon Haiyan one of the strongest typhoons on record. The storm hit the Philippines hard.

People from all over Iowa with family and friends in the Philippines gathered for a fundraiser today in Cedar Rapids.

One Iowa woman taking part is specifically concerned about her home town of Estancia.

"My hometown is 95 percent totally devastated,” said June Kelley.

Kelley lives in Ankeny, but on Sunday her and her daughter came to Cedar Rapids. They made the trip to do something for their family back in the Philippines.

"My brother's store, the roof is gone. Pretty much just my hometown because we are surrounded by water. So it was just all, everything was just all gone,” Kelley said.

Many know people impacted by the massive storm, so they're taking part in a fundraiser.

"We are getting together to dance and sing, mostly Filipino culture,” said Fundraiser Organizer & Dancer Jennifer Eicher.

People filled just about every seat in the auditorium. With each step and each song, performers put on a show of their culture. It's an event that brought in about $2,000 that will go to the American Red Cross for Typhoon relief.

"We always like to do what we can. We remember what it is like to live in the Philippines -- it's a little bit harder life over there,” Eicher said.

Organizers said every little bit will help, but people at the event know rebuilding in the Philippines will take time.

"It's not like here in the U.S. where we have home insurance. They don't have home insurance. So when you lose your house, you lose your house,” Eicher said.

As for June, she said her family is alive and well. Now, she's hoping her hometown will eventually return to its former glory.

"Just pray for the people there that hopefully they will be able to rebuild,” Kelley said.

Organizers said if you still want to help, you can donate to the American Red Cross to help with the typhoon relief effort. According to the Red Cross website, it has donated $16 million so far to help those in the Philippines recover.

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