Jacksonville store sending aid to Philippines

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville has a substantial Filipino population. They, along with many others, are already sending help and aid to the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Mike Cell Oriental Grocery at Atlantic Boulevard and St. Johns Bluff Road, which is in the heart of Jacksonville's Filipino community, is also where the community is showing its heart by collecting goods and getting them ready to send to the Philippines.

Many people who went to the store Monday said they have family in the Philippines and are waiting on any word. In the meantime, they're helping by donating.

People with relatives and those who are just concerned go to Mike Cell for lunch and to try to learn the latest of what is happening overseas.

The owners of the store say they are just trying to help the community and are using the store as a collection site for people to send aid, such as food and clothing.

"We would like to reach out to the people who would like to donate to the relief funds for the Filipino people from the Filipino community," store owner Mike Hoya said.

With the help of a shipper that deals directly with the Philippines, the store will be sending boxes of the items it is collecting that will go to those in need. And some in the store hope the items will get to family members.

"We have customers that tell us stories what has happened to their families, and like I said, we feel sorry for those people," Hoya said.

Elly Gumera is from the Philippines and has been watching closely to learn what he can.

"So it's like an atomic bomb dropped in the Philippines," he said.

He learned though Facebook that his family is safe, but that has not stopped his efforts in trying to help others.

"People need their help, clothes that they are not using, shoes, food, and maybe if you are not going to do that, maybe you can send money," Gumera said.

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