December 4, 2013 7:08 pm

Ford’s Charlene AlmarvezDanica Magpantay, Charo and Dave Lilja– all native to the Philippines, have begun working with the FMSC- Feed My Starving Children, a non-for-profit organization that brings sustainable nutrition that saves thousands of lives to the Philippines and many other southeast Asian countries who’ve endured economic disparity.

With the help of Charlene, Charo, Danica, & Dave, as well as millions of volunteers across the country – the FMSC has distributed meals to nearly 70 countries, standing by their mission statement to “continue to provide our mission partners with the food they need to maintain their feeding programs.” The philanthropic four spoke to Ford’s blog about the devastating effect of Typhoon Haiyan, the importance of working with the FMSC, and why a global effort is vital.

Ford: How did the typhoon affect you on an emotional level? What was your reaction to seeing the devastation on the news?

Dave: The disaster has affected me very much, especially when I almost have my whole family in Tacloban (the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte). All of my family on my mother’s side are there. I still have not been able to reach some of them, but the rest of my family is safe and have moved to another island called Cebu. I have been able to help my family financially and supported them if they need anything. We are all very close and are doing our best to get through this situation.

Charo: Haiyan was the biggest typhoon ever hit the Philippines, I am thankful my family is  safe, though I cried for those who lost their love ones. It tore my heart seeing all of  the devastation on the news.

Charlene: The first time I saw it on television I was truly shocked, sad, and questioned why? Everyday I’m thinking of ways to help. All of my family are in the Philippines, and I’m thankful they are all safe. When I first saw it, I immediately searched for ways to help. I also share information on my social media on how people can help the victims of typhoon.

Danica: I was working when I first saw it on the news. I grew up in the Philippines and typhoons hit our country all the time. Recently, the typhoons have been getting more and more destructive. I am shocked and surprised to see how much damage it had done to millions of people. My heart goes out to each and every one of them. In my direct family, only my sister and I are here in New York.  I hear stories from the victims of the typhoon and  how their survival instincts overtook them.

Ford: Have you gone back since the typhoon? The impression of the communal spirit?
Dave: I can only speak for what my family has told me, and it’s that the people have    helped each other. The food and the water did not come out to everyone right away-  many had not received food and water after five days, which is very hard for me to accept.

Charlene: I haven’t been back since the typhoon, but I am always watching the news and reading articles about it. The victims are so strong. They do their best not just survive but thrive. I’m so happy how people globally join to assist those people in need.

Charo: I was here when it happened and I haven’t been back since, that’s why I’ve been supporting charities to reach out. Our community is in urgent need of help and it’s been heard all over the world. Because of the global effort, our nation will never lose hope.

Danica:  I plan to come back this holiday. It’s always amazing how Filipinos stand up and smile when disaster occurs. This year has been pretty overwhelming and yet exceptional, our countrymen and women of all ages are willing to lend a helping hand. I’m really thankful that a lot of countries (twenty-eight to date) have pledged assistance for disaster relief. It is incredible.

Feed My Starving Children is a Non-Profit Organization “striving to eliminate starvation in children throughout the world by helping to instill compassion in people to hear and respond to the cries of those in need.” A single bag of food—which provides highly nutritious meals for six children—costs around $1.32 to produce, and 92 percent of all donations to FMSC goes directly toward the food program.

 Please click on the link to their website and see how you can assist with crisis relief in the Philippines.



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