Community Saves Christmas for Flood Victims

Thanks to generous donors, Hollywood Casino and an Aurora martial arts school, flood victims in the Philippines will have a little more help.

Last month, West Aurora High School student Ben Arcilla asked the community to donate supplies for victims of Typhoon Parma. Arcilla and his father have relatives who lived in Quezon City, just outside the Philippine capital. Everyone in Arcilla's family survived the typhoon, but their home and possessions were wiped away.

Arcilla mentioned this to his martial arts instructor, David Luna of 36th Camber Extreme Martial Arts in Aurora. Luna offered to host a collection point for blankets, food, building supplies and more. No one was sure how much they would receive or how they would ship it.

In less than a month, they collected eight boxes -- more than 1,000 pounds -- of supplies. Then, Hollywood Casino agreed to pay for the shipping, Luna said. It will take about a month for the supplies to reach the Philippines by boat -- hopefully just as government donations run out.

"It'll be a good Christmas gift," Luna said.

Luna said Arcilla has talked to the family members in the Philippines, who remained upbeat. Although they were gathered in a shed, they were celebrating a young family member's birthday.

"Even with all that, their spirits are up," Luna said. "All that devastation and they were still focused on a birthday."


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