Tag Archives: water filters

little gestures mean a lot

Allen Renquist, Jordan Gurnesy and I arrived at our hotel here in Manila early this morning (a little after 1am) after 30+hours of nonstop travel. All of us were pleased to finally have a chance to get a hot shower and stretch out for even a short night’s sleep.

But what was really the most satisfying feeling for all three of us was just how easy it was to get all nine duffel bags of water filters through Philippines Customs. We were concerned, to say the least. We were bringing in 700 waters filters in our checked baggage. For those of you who might not have ever attempted such a feat…well, it’s a big deal. It could have been “nightmare quality” difficult.

First, packaging 700 water filters is no simple task. As I mentioned, nine very full duffel bags. Then transporting nine duffel bags of filters to the airport at 0530 in the morning takes teamwork. Checking in for an international flight always takes a little longer than checking in for domestic flights. Try it with nine over-sized duffel bags.

Even getting nine duffel bags of water filters and personal luggage from the conveyor belt to the customs checkpoint takes a fair bit of coordination–especially after 30 hours of flying.

But what made the process so rewarding is that during every step there was an amazing amount of help. Stop Hunger Now staff went above & beyond their normal excellent work to ensure the filters would make it to the Philippines. Then when Delta Airlines found out the duffel bags contained humanitarian relief supplies they graciously allowed us to check the additional bags at no cost.

When we arrived in the Philippines all three of us were immediately struck by the appreciation shown to us by the Philippines Immigration & Customs officials. Several times we were thanked by the officials for coming to help. It surprised us. I cannot ever remember an immigration official ever thanking me before.

And when we finally took our three carts of water filter-filled duffel bags to Customs the official asked us what was in the bags. We told her.  She didn’t open a single bag. She just stamped our customs forms, and then took the time to thank us for coming to the Philippines to help. What a great start to our time here.

It’s such little gestures that mean a lot, especially at one in the morning.

Super Typhoon Haiyon

Last Thursday, the Stop Hunger Board was in its annual retreat when Allen mentioned we were already monitoring the situation in the Philippines and that various staff were already beginning to plan our response.  From then until now we have not slowed down.

Stop Hunger Now has been in full crisis response mode for the past week. Already over a million meals have been shipped or will shortly leave the US for the Philippines. One full container (285,000 meals) has already left California and another hundred thousand meals are being airlifted from Kansas City. Other containers are scheduled to leave early next week.

Working with our strategic partner, Wine to Water, we are providing 1100 Sawyer water filters. Each of these filters have the capacity of providing over 275 gallons of clean water a day.We are also sending high energy bars, medicine, medical supplies and other donated relief supplies.

Stop Hunger Now Malaysia is sending another quarter of a million meals. And they are gearing up to provide more.

But the most exciting facet of our response is that our wonderful partners in the Philippines are going to hold a special packaging event in Manila next week where volunteers will package another 120,000 meals for their countrymen in the area of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyon. Providing the opportunity for Filipinos to help provide life-saving meals is powerful in so many ways.

Tomorrow morning Allen Renquist and I will fly to the Philippines to coordinate our immediate relief efforts with our partners, assess the extent of the damage, and plan for Stop Hunger Now’s continuing response to this tragedy. We will be joined by Jordon Gurnsey, a close friend and supporter of our efforts, and Tiki Keh, our Stop Hunger Now Malaysia Director.

We will try to post on a regular basis to share stories and photos, so stay tuned for more detailed reports of our trip.