I'm used to being part of something that involves helping others in need, but when I heard about the news of the Taal Volcano eruption, I know I have to do something. Definitely, this one really hits home. As a Batangueño, it was hard for me to go back home and see how many people have fled from their homes to seek refuge. Evacuation centers were full and some even opened their homes to accommodate families affected.

With what we have heard all over the news and from home, my friends and I decided to help and make a weekend relief operations on our own. From posting on social media, to collecting donations, and buying medicine, everyone stepped up. Our goal is to deliver them to the people/families who opened their homes and welcomed other evacuees. One of my friends, who was a doctor, also decided to give free checkups. I remember having a headache that day due to the late night repacking the night before but complaining about my headache was nothing compared to what these families are going through. Amidst all that, you can still see smiles on their faces because in the end, what they are thankful for was that they still stand to see a new day. They still hope that all will be better.

I am blessed to have witnessed how God really worked in the past few weeks. As Pope Francis once said, “Lord, help us to live the virtue of generosity, to love without limits." This has been highlighted in my experience as I volunteer through LASAC. It was an honor to have known people who are very passionate in helping so many people in need and have sacrificed a lot for this cause and others who have given a lot or even a little of what they have for the benefit of many. Now, a new foundation is being built, not just for homes to shelter people, but a community made stronger with love and generosity.

Darrice Manalo,Couples for Christ