NEW ORLEANS – A remote Philippine fishing village in Estancia has been largely left out of relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan.
Nearly three months after the storm hit, more than 800 families still live in tents amongst the debris.
But perhaps what is most devastating for the town is the number of fishing boats that were destroyed, leaving hundreds of fishermen out of work and unable to feed their families.
"Right now, we have no other means. We’re jobless,” said Estancia fisherman Mumar Montebon, on amateur video from the Philippines. “We are only depending on donations so that our children will survive."
And that's why a group of New Orleanians is coming together to help.
“Even though I didn't know anyone who died or anyone affected, it felt like they were part of my family or someone I knew,” said Ella Delio, a native of the Philippines living in New Orleans.
Delio is one of the people organizing the NOLA Loves the Philippines campaign. She said it began in the most New Orleans way possible -- during a Saints game.
“During half time we discussed what are the ideas of what we can do to raise money of the victims,” said Delio.
And that’s why Delio and her husband David traveled to meet the people of Estancia, to learn first-hand what they need most.
“They said, ‘Don't give us money for houses, for wells, just giving us money for fishing boats. We'll earn the money and we'll build back,’” said David Delio.
Now, NOLA Loves the Philippines is taking their cause to a classic New Orleans establishment. They’re holding a fundraiser at Rock ‘n’ Bowl Sunday to help fisherman in desperate need of boats.
Their goal is to raise at least $30,000, enough money to buy 50 boats that will serve 150 families. The fishermen who get the first boats will put a portion of their fishing earnings into a co-op, in order to help fellow fisherman buy additional boats. The town needs 200 boats in all.
The fundraiser has grown to nearly 200 auction items and food from local establishments. Entertainment includes James Andrews, Bucktown All-Stars, Bone Tone Brass Band, The Pussyfooters and members of the New Orleans Opera.
The event has already received an outpouring of support from New Orleanians who know what it is like to lose everything -- except the will to rebuild.
“A lot of people in New Orleans have shown that we care about the Philippines because we know what it means. We've gone through a similar experience and people helped us then and we want to help the Philippines now,” said Delio.
“It's unbelievable. It's so exciting because you're like, ‘I'll never see these people and I can help make their lives different,’” said event organizer Tiki McIntyre, through tears. “We felt like we have to do this and we have to pay it forward.”
And what began as a simple idea during a football game has become a journey to help an entire village recover.
“It's going to be something that will create lasting change in people's lives,” said Delio.
The fundraiser will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 9 at Rock n Bowl.
It's $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Remember, every $600 raised means the village will have one more fishing boat.
The materials to build the boats will be delivered to the town through the Lyons Club in the Philippines and be constructed in Estancia.
To buy tickets for the event, click here.