Local relief effort to help China quake victims


Leaders in the Chinese-American community are spearheading local relief efforts. They gathered in Chinatown Wednesday and announced that a fund has been set up to help people in Szechuan. One organizer said it is time for those of Chinese descent and Americans to walk together and help one another. That bond is being built as more pictures from the devastated areas are being seen across the globe.

New video Wednesday shows how violent the earthquake rumbled in China's Szechuan providence. The photographer bobbled, and then after the initial shock, shot pictures of the aftermath. This is the reality that loved ones in Chicago are dealing with, like Tony Hu, who held up front page photos of the destruction in his hometown.

"We try to unite together...we try to do our best for our hometown people," said Tony Hu, Southwest Chinese Association.

"We do strongly feel we will do whatever we can to relieve the suffering and try our best," said Hong Liu, Chinese American Assoc. of Greater Chicago.

So, to that end, leaders of the Chinese-American community gathered at a luncheon in Chinatown Wednesday afternoon, discussing the possible ways to help. They are reaching out to all of us.

"It is really important that we show that we are not just citizens of America, but citizens of the world. When disasters like this strike, I think all of us have a responsibility to help any way we can," said Bernarda Wong, Chinese American Service League.

Although thousands of people have died, there are stories of survival. A 34-year-old woman who is 8 months pregnant was pulled from the rumble of her apartment. A second-grade child was able to respond to rescuers' questions just moments before being saved.

But more than 14,000 people are still missing. And there are still areas no one has been able to reach. More than 100,000 soldiers are trying to deliver aid.

"We are really concerned about the situation and people's lives there. Right now we have mobilized 80 organizations to put efforts together. We have a series of activities," said Liu.

Activities in Chicago include donation boxes which will be placed in various businesses. Organizers say the money will be put into one fund in hopes of rebuilding a school in the Szechuan province.

Along with donation boxes, the leaders have set up donation funds at five area banks. They expect Chinese-Americans to donate, but...

"But I would hope that all Americans would open up there hearts and make contributions. Because this is a world crisis and all of us should be committed to helping," said Ray Spaeth, Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

Gary, Indiana, mayor Rudy Clay was in China Wednesday and had been in the capital Beijing when the quake struck. He says he barely noticed a tremor. But the effect of the quake is clear everywhere.

"The aura of the devastation of that earthquake is definitely felt in China," Clay said.

Aside from the donation boxes, there are a few other ways you can donate. You can write a check and mail it in or you can drop off your donation at one of five area banks. Those banks are: Charter One, Fifth Third Bank, Lakeside Bank, Citibank and Pacific Global.

The Chinese American Service League has set up a relief fund for victims of the Sichuan province earthquake.

Send checks payable to:
CASL-Sichuan Relief Fund
2141 S. Tan Ct.
Chicago, IL 60616

This is just the start of the relief effort. The group would also like to have a fundraiser next month. They are still working on those details.

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