ARLINGTON — As the situation in the Philippines continues to unfold in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, churches and organizations in North Texas are stepping up to help.
The American Red Cross has launched a service to help families locate their loved ones in the disaster zone, and Filipino American Alliance Church in Arlington passed the collection plate to raise money to assist friends and family affected.
Standing outside the church, more than 8,000 miles away from her family in the Philippines, Jenelyn Black is devastated by the images she's seeing on TV.
"I cried, and there's nothing we can do," she said. "My mom and dad's brothers and sisters are there. All my cousins and nieces are there." Typhoon Haiyan, the deadliest natural catastrophe on record, slammed into the Philippines, spawning tidal waves as tall as coconut trees. It wiped out entire cities and pummeled power and communication lines.
For two days, Black feared her family was gone. She recalled the moment when her repeated calls were finally answered on Saturday.
"I'm so glad," she said. "I'm so happy!"
Ave Alagar, an elder at Alliance Church, said his congregation, most of Filipino descent, could not sit idle and watch their brethren suffer. He collected $1,500 during Sunday's worship service to send to victims of the killer storm.
"It's not much, but we hope it helps," he said.
He's also hoping those who can't give will consider praying.
"It really helps us, because it's not only the physical situation, but the spiritual situation of the people," Alagar said.
The American Red Cross has activated Restoring Family Links to help families in Texas locate their loved ones in the disaster zone. The relief agency also established a Pacific Typhoon Appeal for North Texans to donate financial gifts.
Black said her heart aches for the thousands of people who are missing and feared dead.
"Filipinos are very strong people, so I think we can recover," she said.