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Chandler restaurant seeking donations for Phillippines

PHOENIX — The rebuild effort in the Philippines from one of the deadliest typhoons in history is expected to take years and one local restaurant is working to bring aid to the thousands affected.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the country in November, leveling homes, killing thousands and leaving thousands more without necessities.

That has Jeepney’s Bistro, on North Alma School Road between Elliot and Warner roads, working to do its part to provide aid to those in need.

Even though the storm hit more than 7,000 miles from Jeepney’s, it still hit close to home. The restaurant’s owner, Joselito Sydiongco, was in Tacloban, one of the most devastated cities by the storm, when Haiyan made landfall on the island nation.

“He’s been over there for about nine months now,” Justin Sydiongco, Joselito’s son and Jeepney’s general manager said. “He’s trying to start a business out there but got held up because of the storm.”

Justin said his father and family had to evacuate because of the storm.

“His home island was in Tacloban and that’s the town that got hit the worst,” Justin said. “He had to evacuate his house, my grandma’s house and all of our family…so it was pretty bad for our family out there but everyone is okay, thankfully.”

Justin said like many others in the Philippines, his grandmother’s home was completely wiped out in the storm. Many are left homeless and in desperate need of supplies, he said.

“It’s really desperate out there right now. When I talk to my dad he tells me that the rebuild effort from the Philippine government is very, very slow and it’s taking a while for some of the supplies to reach the towns and all the people that need it.”

So in an effort to do their part, Justin said they have been taking in donations to send supplies to the devastated country.

“What we’re doing is pretty much like a general donation drive,” he said. “We’re collecting non-perishables like can goods, anything that can be shipped over because it usually takes a few months for the shipments to reach the Philippines.”

He said they’re also collecting other non-perishables like blankets and other items to help the country’s rebuilding efforts.

“We’re going to try and collect all year round. It’s going to take them a while for them to rebuild, so that’s the most important thing for all the people over there.”

Justin said they have partnered with a local Filipino organization, the 3000 Club, to help ship the items overseas.

He said when they first started taking donations there was a great response, but things have slowed down recently and wants to encourage people to continue to donate.

“Right now it’s really important, it’s the most crucial time right now when people (and) families are trying to rebuild,” he said.

Jeepney’s Bistro is at 2390 N. Alma School Road in Chandler and donations can be dropped off at the restaurant’s location during business hours.