Local people help send relief to Samoa

October 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of the great qualities about the Bay Area is how people respond to a crisis here, or anywhere else in the world. On Friday night they responded by mobilizing to get help to Samoans as quickly as possible.

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It all started from a Facebook posting. There was a plea for help from a church member at the First Samoan Congregational Church in San Francisco and it generated such a huge response, the pastor's garage has filled up a few times.

"A homeless man actually came by and gave us a dollar, which I knew was a lot for him, but we know he hangs out front all the time; so we're hitting all levels of the community," said relief organizer Manufou Liaiga-Anoai.

A shipping company even donated a cargo container and some of its employees to help load and pack all of the supplies. They also plan to haul it to the Samoan islands for free.

"It's America. Everybody's generous heart, every disaster in the world, America responds," said Felise Lengi from San Francisco Enterprises.

The congregation is very proud and grateful, but is also very sad. After the truck was loaded up they came together to pray for the victims of Tuesday's tsunami.

"We didn't expect the turnout this evening, but it's obvious people have been touched by this tragedy and they need an outlet and that's why they were here tonight," said Liaiga-Anoai.

The Red Cross assured the members their money would go to help the Samoans. San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty promised he would try to pass a resolution asking businesses to pitch in and help.

"It's just a good feeling that everybody's coming together and that all these other organizations are helping our people out. It's a blessing from God, it really is," said Kimberly Gainer from San Francisco.

The Bay Area Red Cross has already sent three volunteers to help and expect many more will go. The relief agency says this recovery effort is going to take a long time.

Ways to donate to Samoa: Samoa disaster relief funds

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