County reaches out with Philippines aid

Warren’s generosity can cross continents and bridge oceans.

The devastation in Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan left families scattered and homes destroyed, but the other side of the world hit close to home for Elizabeth Peterson.

Peterson is from the Philippines, and the aftermath of the typhoon brought some shocking news; not all of her family could be located and their homes were largely destroyed.

Julia Roque, who also has family in the Philippines, heard about the plight of Peterson, a former resident of the area, and began looking for ways to help.

Since then, Roque said approximately $1,000 in donations to help the family have come in, and more are on the way.

“It’s not a big amount here, but it’s a fortune there,” Roque said, noting the reunited family is using the money to replace roofs on their homes, which were demolished in the storm. “It isn’t much, but it’s enough for them to get started rebuilding. The only thing left over (from the homes) was concrete.”

The family is grateful for the support, according to Roque.

“They’re beside themselves,” she said. “They didn’t realize somewhere like Warren County could reach out to them like this. Most of the people who helped were private citizens. The people of Warren County don’t even know how generous they are. They don’t even know these people.”

Roque said donations came from across the community.

A Filipino she ran into at the store donated, despite the financial hardship of her husband’s seasonal job being slow during the season. June Hepler made donations to each individual family within the greater extended family. Staff from the welfare office and Salvation Army both made donations.

“Basically community agency staff because I reached out to them,” Roque said. “But most of it was private citizens.”

Meanwhile, the donations haven’t stopped.

“I’m still receiving donations and saving to send them to the family,” Roque said. “St. Joseph’s drive is still going on. I really thank them for accommodating the drive and bringing it to the congregation.”

In all, 18 members of Peterson’s extended family are benefiting from the efforts.

“This is a nice Christmas gift to them,” Roque said. “they’re receiving gifts from people they don’t even know.