San Francisco groups collecting donations to help victims of Tuesday’s tsunami in the Samoan Islands are thinking in both the short term and long term, according to organizers.
A ship carrying the San Francisco Samoan Community Development Center’s first load of donations will leave Saturday, according to Rena Ilasa, a case manager for the Samoan Community Center.
“We’ve been able to pack about 40 boxes so far,” Ilasa said.
The shipment, which is headed for American Samoa, probably won’t reach the islands for a few weeks, Ilasa said.
Another shipment will go out later in the month, and the group is particularly looking for donations of food, water, clothing and canned goods.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday collecting donations, Ilasa said. The center is also organizing a service on Sunday that will involve all of the Samoan churches in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Volunteers are also available to pick up items from donors who don’t have convenient transportation.
“We’re trying to collaborate with the entire community,” Ilasa said. “School, families. We can use so much more.”
A group of students of Samoan descent at Thurgood Marshall High School has organized its own donation drive as well, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.
The students hope to send donations by Oct. 8, but they are still trying to figure out how to raise funds to cover shipment costs, said SFUSD spokeswoman Heidi Anderson.
Anderson said they would not be concerned if they don’t raise the money immediately, though.
“The student’s faculty advisor mentioned that based on what they’re going through, (the tsunami victims) might need things even more in the future,” she said.
“They’re worried about long-term support,” she said of the students.
The students began collecting donations this week, and so far they’ve amassed tables full of clothing and food, Anderson said.
Many of the donations are Samoan-centric items because the students have solicited items from their own families, she added. They hope to expand their donation drive next week.
The student population at Thurgood Marshall is 5.1 percent Pacific Islander, compared to a district average of 1.3 percent, according to the California Department of Education.
The faculty advisor who is working with the students organizing the donation drive has family in Samoa and has been in touch with his cousins, Anderson said. Like many of his students, he is still trying to locate other relatives.