Pittsburgh donations sought for typhoon relief

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When Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the Philippines, two Pittsburgh organizations were ready to help with the relief efforts.

North Side-based Brother's Brother Foundation has teamed with the Philippine American Medical Society of Western Pennsylvania to provide short- and long-term assistance to victims of Haiyan. They're asking Pittsburghers for monetary donations to help with the cost of shipping much-needed medical and other supplies to typhoon victims. One hundred percent of donations will be used for relief purposes.

Founded in 1958 by Robert Hingson, BBF has worked with PAMS and other Philippine-American groups for more than three decades to transport free medical supplies and equipment to hospitals worldwide, including dozens in the Philippines. They also provide actual care, with PAMS sending upwards of 70 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical volunteers to poorer parts of the island country each year to offer free medical consultations and surgeries.

In January, for example, past president Frederick Acevedo was part of a team of professionals who traveled to Roxas City in the province of Capiz on one such mission. In addition to 1,200 consultations, he said, they performed 50 major and 120 minor surgeries -- everything from thyroid and gall bladder surgeries to cancer treatment.

BBF announced the initiative Sunday at a small gathering at its Galveston Avenue headquarters that also included PAMS president Primo Bautista, a pathologist with Excela Health, and Aurora Miranda, an OB-GYN specialist with Allegheny Health Network. They said their goal is to get a container filled and ready to ship by the end of November, so it will arrive in the Philippines about a week before PAMS's next mission in the province of Pangasinan in early January.

Also eager to lend a hand is the Philippine American Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh, which at 4 p.m. Saturday will hold a dance recital and gala at Upper St. Clair High School. Tickets to the event, which can be purchased at the door, cost $10 (under age 6 free) and include a post-recital dance party with Filipino wedding cake and other foods. A portion of proceeds will benefit relief efforts.

"When we started planning the event, it was just to portray festivities surrounding Filipino courtship and weddings," said Nenette Angeles. "We now we're channeling our efforts toward this."

To donate to BBF, make checks out to Brother's Brother Foundation/Philippines Relief and mail to 1200 Galveston Ave., Pittsburgh 15233. You also can donate to the organization online at www.brothersbrother.org. More info: 412-321-3160.

For tickets or information on PAPAGP's dance recital at 1825 McLaughlin Run Road, call 412-303-1986 or visit philippinefolkdance.org. Doors open at 3 p.m. for the 4 p.m. performance.

Gretchen McKay: gmckay@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.


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