Olathe-based relief group aiding Philippines after typhoon - KCTV5

Olathe-based relief group aiding Philippines after typhoon

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OLATHE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

An Olathe-based relief group is preparing to send relief supplies to the Philippines in the wake of a deadly typhoon.

Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines on Friday, killing thousands of people in one city alone. The massive storm also wiped out homes, schools and airport buildings.

Heart to Heart International spokesman Dan Weinbaum says the agency's current efforts are a continuation of its year-round relief work in the Philippines.

It can be overwhelming just thinking about responding to a disaster, but in the devastating aftermath, a simple tube of toothpaste or a box of Band-Aids can make a world of difference.

And with their 50,000 square-foot warehouse in Kansas City, KS, Heart to Heart International is prepared to make those small changes on a big scale.

He can't walk in their shoes, but Dan Neal, the Director of Global Logistics at Heart to Heart International, knows what they need now.  The organization will ship relief supplies and materials, including care kits, hygiene kits and relief boxes with pharmaceutical supplies, which can serve up to 500 people.

Neal said the basics can tide families over and send a more powerful message.

"We're here with you.  We're going to keep helping you, and here is sort of a down payment on the help that we will continue to bring," Neal said.  "You know, pieces of sheet metal flying across the countryside are pretty dangerous. But after that, it is the long-term impacts that are actually more scary. So things like cholera become a concern," Neal said.

Heart to Heart International workers can see it all coming after 20 years responding to disasters.  But they've also learned one of the hardest lessons, waiting to ship these boxes until their partners on the ground in the Philippines are ready to handle the load.

Heart to Heart International is working with partner organizations in the Philippines, including Springfield-based Convoy of Hope and Hope Worldwide.

"To see hurting people, and knowing I can't respond right now, I have to wait until I have the right information.  I have to wait until all the logistics things are in place. That is a challenging thing," Neal said.

People can go to http://www.hearttoheart.org/ to donate or volunteer.  Heart to Heart International says they will need a lot more donations to re-stock since their sending so much overseas right now.

Filipinos in the metro are very concerned about family and friends overseas.

The president of the Filipino Association of Kansas City says when she first started seeing the images, she felt helpless.

"We feel so helpless here, and I have a lot of friend's whose families are affected," Bing Sakach said.

The association is taking monetary donations.  If you would like to help, you can send your donations to:

Filipino Association of Kansas City
9810 West 79th Street
Overland Park, KS 66204

The group is also putting together a fundraiser.  KCTV5 will keep you posted on that when more information becomes available.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press.  All rights reserved.

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