When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and caused an immeasurable amount of damage, many organizations and individuals came to the country’s aid donating food, water and money to help with relief efforts.
But part-time Chula Vista resident and Filipino Manny Ramirez had a different idea when it came to helping his native country.
He didn’t ask for the usual monetary donations, clothing or medicine.
He wanted Filipinos to rebuild their lives.
So for about two months Ramirez has been asking South Bay residents to donate used hand tools.
“Because of the kind of damage in the Philippines, I thought of sending tools to help them rebuild their homes and their schools,” Ramirez said.
“I think this is one of the best and easiest ways to help the typhoon victims.”
He got the idea to donate hand tools because before he left the Philippines for Chula Vista, he had donated unwanted tools to a high school so the kids could learn construction skills.
Ramirez said he is asking for donations of used tools but he is overwhelmed with the number of new tools received.
“I was surprised that a lot of people have been donating brand new tools,” he said.
He said he isn’t asking for power tool donations because the typhoon has left the majority of the Tacloban area without electricity.
Ramirez left the Philippines, where he lives part time, for Chula Vista in October.
He said he feels lucky to have avoided the 7.2 earthquake Oct. 15 and the November typhoon.
Ramirez said some of his friends have been impacted by the typhoon but since it missed Cebu City, where he lives, he wasn’t directly affected.
So far the tool drive has received donations of hammers, levels and wrenches.
He recently sent two shipments of hand tools to the Philippines that haven’t arrived yet. He said shipping from San Diego to the Philippines takes about 60 days.
The tool drive lasts until Jan. 31.
The donation of hand tools can be made to any of the donation boxes at the following locations: Chula Vista City Hall, South Bay Family YMCA and at Eastlake Church.
Aside from this project, Ramirez has been a Books for the Barrios volunteer since 1991.