on Oct. 18, 2009
ISKCON’s Food For Life program in the Philippines is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, which has left more than 300 people dead and nearly 400,000 affected.
The tropical storm, which hit the Northern Luzon region of the Philippines on Saturday September 26, caused some of the worst floods the country has ever seen.
ISKCON’s Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Mandir in Makati City was not spared, with water levels reaching the pictures of Vaishnava gurus on Radha-Madhava’s altar. Devotees sprung to action immediately, beginning to clean the temple and restore order even before their 4am morning worship.
Once they had finished, their first step was to reach out to Typhoon Ondoy’s many victims.
Between September 26th and October 13th, the Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava Food For Life team—numbering only fifteen full-time staff and less than ten volunteers—visited nineteen locations and fed hot vegetarian meals to 8,800 people. They also distributed other necessities such as clothes, medicine, blankets, and water.
Their efforts where carried out in coordination with the Mayor of Marikina, who was grateful for the devotees’ help and arranged for them to use the city’s evacuation center facilities.
Victims of the flood were also grateful. Many expressed their deep appreciation for the Food For Life Team’s tireless work in difficult conditions with tears in their eyes. Some joined in the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, and danced with the devotees.
“We felt sad to see so many of our fellow countrymen suffering,” says Food For Life Director Radha-Lila Dasi. “But now as we see more and more people benefited by prasadam distribution, we feel very happy and satisfied.”
But now is not the time to rest on any laurels. With funds running out, Food For Life are asking for assistance to continue helping the thousands of people still hungry, homeless and penniless.
“Both monetary donations and items such as clothes, blankets, and raw foods like rice, milk, or vegetarian noodles are very much appreciated,” Radha-Lila says. “We also need volunteers for cooking and distribution. So please help in any way you can.”
For more information, or to donate to Food For Life’s Typhoon Ondoy efforts, please contact ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Madhava Food For Life at (+632) 782-8236, Bhaktin Parijata at 896-3357, or Radha Lila Dasi at 890-1947. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
View more photos of Food For Life’s work here