Shadyside doing its part to aid Philippines relief

SHADYSIDE – We’ve all seen the horrific images.

When Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines earlier this month, it wrought a swath of death and destruction not seen before.

More than 5,000 people were killed in what was the worst storm to hit landfall in world history and one of the worst typhoon’s ever recorded in terms of wind speed.

Shadyside’s Doug Campbell watched it all. And while everything was taking place almost half a world away, for him, it hit square in the heart.

”I always tell folks when they ask what kind of people the folks there are like … they are the greatest and nicest people in the world,” said Campbell, a Shadyside native and Shadyside High School alum.

”I did two-and-a-half years (in the United States Navy) over there and asked to stay for another one. They couldn’t do it and shipped me to Hawaii. But I have to tell ya, some of my best times were there.”

Not only did Campbell serve in the Navy there, he met his wife, Melanie, there. Melanie still has family there. He developed many still-lasting friendships there. So, where he saw all of the destruction taking place, he knew he and and his family had to do something to help.

”We thought, why don’t we do a spaghetti and meatball dinner,” said Campbell, assistant director of WesBanco Arena and a longtime part of the Shadyside High School football program.

”So, we got together with our friend, Denise Hoskinson, some of our Philippino friends in the valley, some of which have family that were directly affected by the typhoon and said we are going to do this we would you be interested.”

The response, Campbell said, was overwhelming.

”We’ve had a good response so far,” he said. ”We’ve had posters, flyers and all that good stuff up. Plus, our response on social media has been good.

”I had a fella that came up to us and said let me know how much money you make off this. If you don’t reach your goal tell me what you need and I’ll make up the difference money wise. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me?”’

The fundraiser will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 at Shadyside American Legion Post 521. Dinner will include spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad and dessert. Beverage is included with eat in meals. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids aged 10 and under.

”Folks will be able to eat in and anyone wishing to take out will be able to do that,” Campbell said. ”Come by and grab lunch or grab dinner after watching the Steelers play.”

The goal is to send as many boxes of relief supplies to the affected areas of the Philippines as possible.

”Whatever we raise, we’ll ship it all out,” Campbell said.

For years, Campbell and his family – which also includes children Erica, Jeff and Ashley – have sent boxes to Melanie’s family. These boxes would include clothes, food and other items.

Campbell said members of his wife’s family were impacted by the storm, but not as much as other folks. So, what they wanted to do was ramp up their normal efforts in hopes of helping more folks.

”We thought, if we send boxes all the time to our family why can’t we put together some more boxes and see if there are some friends that might have some old clothes, shoes, food, whatever that we could send over,” Campbell said.

From there, the idea of the fundraiser began.

”It just kind of snowballed,” Campbell said.

Now, these boxes aren’t normal size, they’re huge. So much so, that Campbell has enlisted the help of a friend from Pataskala to come over and pick them up and help get them on their way overseas.

”If we can get 10 boxes they will come pick this stuff up,” Campbell explained. ”If I try to put them in my truck it would take me two or three trips to Pataskala to get them there.”

The Campbell family has taken the project to heart doing a number of things ahead of the dinner to help raise funds.

”My wife and some of her friends, as well as my two girls, had a booth at Christmas in November here at WesBanco,” Campbell said. ”It wasn’t a whole lot, but a few people put some money in the pot … anything helps.”

And Campbell said, for many folks in the Philippines, a little bit helps.

”They don’t call it a third-world country for nothing,” he said. ”You feel for them because because you see how many of them of live.”

Campbell added people in the Philippines don’t have the social safety nets like people in the United States have, like food stamps, unemployment, etc.

”A lot of folks just don’t have anything,” he said. ”I read Facebook and see people saying Day 22: I’m thankful for this and that … these people are just thankful to get by day by day.”

Campbell it’s rainy season in the Philippines and another typhoon went through the region shortly before Haiyan went through, but not which such force. Haiyan was a different story.

”The winds were tremendous,” he said. ”When they started talking about that we just felt like we had to do something.

”They’re resilient folks and they’ll get through this.

”If we send out a half-dozen boxes, it’s a half-dozen boxes they didn’t have before. We just wanted to make sure we did our part.”