How do you respond when a natural disaster hits half a world away?
A Franklin County woman has been working the phones, trying to bring attention to a portion of the Philippines hit hard by typhoon Haiyan.
Janet Stone's sister-in-law is a native of the Philippines, who was visiting her home when the typhoon struck.
Members of her family survived the storm, but are now dealing with severe shortages of food and other supplies.
The typhoon hit the city of Tacloban with explosive force, and that's one of the areas where international attention and early relief efforts have been centered.
But Janet Stone has been busy in her Franklin County home, targeting another region a few hours away from Tacloban, where her sister-in-law and other relatives are located.
Stone has been working to connect local leaders there with the international relief agencies that can provide help.
"What we're seeing on TV on the news broadcasts is a drop in the bucket compared to what's really going on out there," Stone told us. "We're just seeing one area, like looking through a knothole in a fence and we're just seeing that. It covers a large area."
The Roanoke Chapter of the American Red Cross has also heard from people here in southwestern Virginia trying to locate loved ones in the Philippines.
"First thing we would do is encourage people to continue trying to reach those family members because phone lines are down of course and they may reach them after a few days," said Red Cross spokesperson Amy Whittaker. "However, if they don't hear from them and are very concerned they can certainly call their local Red Cross chapter and we can initiate a family tracing case."
And Whittaker says Virginians who want to make a donation can earmark their contributions for typhoon relief.
We also learned that another relief organization based in our region has collected 6000 pounds of supplies for families in the Philippines.
Gleaning for the World will continue to accept donations Thursday and Friday at collection points in central and western Virginia.
Following is a new release with more information on the locations and the type of items the group is collecting:
Central Virginia Donated 6,000 Lbs. on the First Day.
November 13, 2013 | Concord, VA– Gleaning For The World is providing aid to families
in the Philippines. On the first day of collections alone, Central Virginia donated 6,000
lbs. worth of life-saving supplies. GFTW is adding an extra day to the collection at
SAM’s Club in Lynchburg.
The schedule before includes the updated information.
Gleaning is holding collections for victims in the Philippines at the following locations:
November 12, 2013 – November 15, 2013 (10 am. – 6 pm.)
Sam’s Club on Wards Road in Lynchburg, VA.
November 12, 2013 – November 14, 2013 (10 am. – 6 pm.)
Walmart on Rt 460 in Bedford, VA
November 13, 2013 – November 15, 2013 (10 am. – 6 pm.)
Walmart on Old Forest Road in Lynchburg, VA.
Roanoke Drop Off for Supplies and Cash (12 pm. – 5 pm.)
November 12, 2013 – November 14, 2013
Word of Truth Ministries, 643 Peters Creek Road Roanoke, VA
Items that are needed:
OTC Drugs (cough, cold, and fever reducing) Expiration date after 8/14 Adult and children
Powdered Milk Flashlights and Batteries
Baby Supplies (powdered formula, diapers)
Personal Hygiene Products (soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste)
Towels and Washcloths Hygiene Products (soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste)