‘The Blanket Project’ keeps flood victims warm in evacuation centers

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By Nikka Garriga

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILAIn times of grave calamities, social networking sites have  played a big role in keeping the Filipino bayanihan spirit alive.

Take the case of friends Ivanna Aguiling and Joyce Fong who spearheads The Blanket Project.

Ivanna says the initiative began after Joyce posted a “shout-out” via Facebook calling on friends to donate old clothes they no longer use.

Joyce, who recently graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, happens to be in the country for vacation.

“These are clothes that even organizations and relief centers decline. We cut them and sew them into usable blankets,” Ivanna says.

The garments are gathered at the Briggy Hall, a community cafe which Aguiling has established for start-up food entrepreneurs at the East Capitol Drive in Pasig.

After posting another call for donations last Tuesday, the two have been receiving tattered shirts, curtains and pillow cases. Aside from donations, volunteers can also help out with the sewing of garments into blankets.

“We need to keep the victims still living in the evacuation centers warm,” Ivanna says.

The Blanket Project is just among the numerous relief drives that have utilized social networking, particularly Facebook, to solicit help.

While the crisis may have brought global attention again on the Philippines, the efforts and goodwill among Filipinos have also earned praise from foreign media such as the International Herald Tribune.

“Instead, on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, and through text messages, Filipinos demonstrated a remarkable civic spirit as they shared news of evacuation centers and drop-off points for donations of emergency supplies,” author Mark McDonald wrote in “Amid the Flooding, a Certain Buoyancy in the Philippines.”

Donations for The Blanket Project can be dropped off at the Briggy Hall located at East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For more information, call 02-782-4159 or visit the Briggy Hall on Facebook.

(Photo courtesy of Ivanna Aguiling)

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