The Northern Westchester Examiner

Local Man Lends a Hand to Help Victims in Philippines

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The images of the destruction and anguish of those struggling to pick up the pieces following the devastating typhoon in the Philippines is heartbreaking to most looking from afar. To others who have a personal connection to the 12th most populated country, the pain really hits home.

Yorktown resident Patrick Van den Bergh is United States director and representative for Destiny’s Promise Home for Children Foundation, which runs an orphanage for children from newborn to 11 years old just outside Manila in the Philippines. His wife of 21 years, Carmelita, a pediatric registered nurse in the Bronx, is a native of the Philippines.

“It’s one of the biggest storms ever. It was three-and-a-half times stronger than Katrina,” Van den Bergh said. “This was really bad. Millions of people are affected.”

More than 3,600 people have been confirmed dead and 12,000 injured from Typhoon Haiyan, which literally washed away some areas with waves as high as 15 feet when it struck on November 7. While none of Carmelita’s family or friends who live in the northern end of the Philippines was directly affected, Van den Bergh said they knew some people who lost their homes.

“Right now they’re still looking for people,” he said. “Eventually we’re all going to know people who knew someone that was suffering.”

Van den Bergh, who was manager of the former restaurant The Heights in Yorktown, has helped raise $25,000 for the orphanage prior to the typhoon and is pitching in to send much needed supplies to the Philippines through The Afya Foundation in Yonkers. The Afya Foundation is partnering with The ABS-CBN Foundation and the Philippine Red Cross to collect and ship medical and humanitarian relief supplies.

Supplies that are in demand include canned goods, water containers, tents and temporary shelters, clean blankets, pillows and sheets, flashlights and batteries, hygiene items, baby diapers and formula, power generators, over the counter medications and mosquito repellant. For further information, call (914) 920-5081 or visit

“It’s like you see the catastrophe over there and you wonder what you can do,” Van den Bergh said. “When I went to fill boxes last week you feel like you’re making a difference. I like to make a difference.”

Van den Bergh said anyone who is interested in making a donation or holding a food drive for the relief effort can contact him about making arrangements to transport the items down to Yonkers. He can be reached at (914) 420-1336 or

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil for the Philippines was hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Hope in the chapel at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining on Sunday. Dominican Sisters International are among those assisting in the afflicted islands. Information on making tax deductible donations can be found at

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