The devastation in the Philippines from last week's typhoon is beyond belief, but even harder to swallow is the number of victims still needing medical attention, food and aid getting out of affected areas.
While we often feel helpless (being oceans away), some photographers in the U.S. have decided to step up and use their skills to help the efforts.
Joanne and Jonathan Encarnacion of Bay-area based Encarnacion Photography are offering family portrait sessions at 50% off until November 24th, with 100% of proceeds to be donated to For Philippines with Love, a disaster relief fundraising effort aimed to raise $3,500 for Shelter Box (a worldwide disaster relief charity).
The cause is especially poignant to the Encarnacions who are both of Filipino descent.
"There is this sense of pride for your culture and heritage that our parents instilled in us," Joanne says. "We are so connected with the current disaster relief because our families back home in the Philippines are the ones who have to weather through typhoons and storms all the time. Unfortunately, their nation isn't equipped to face disasters like Typhoon Yolanda."
"When they launched For Japan with Love, we thought to ourselves 'How can we as photographers help?'" Joanne says. "We know that we can give some type of monetary donation, but we wanted to do something that would spread like wildfire...We instantly thought, 'Let's serve by offering our talents in photography and offer portraits sessions and give all the proceeds to [the charity]. Watching the news and seeing the people in photos needing help; there was no hesitation on our end. We needed to do it again."
The money donated to the For Philippines with Love fundraiser will provide at least three ShelterBoxes tailored to a disaster, with each typically containing a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. One box costs $1,000.
"As photographers, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day life, the struggles of owning a business, and every other financial burden we have to face," Joanne says. "One other way is to be creative and team up as the amazingly talented community that you are. If you can spare a few hours to offer some sessions for this cause, awesome. If you can't, another way to be involved is to spread the awareness of what the For Philippines With Love is doing. The smallest and biggest efforts can be heard miles around if we can pull together as a community to help those in need."
Are you donating photography services or getting involved in disaster relief? Tell us in our comments section.
Update: In addition to portrait sessions, Encarnacion Photo has decided to offer one 8 hour wedding day coverage for $3000 and donate 100% of the proceeds to For Philippines With Love.