In the first place, I want to thank you for your generous support of my re-election campaign – I am amazingly gratified to be back at City Hall working towards Great Neighbourhoods. Secondly, I want to apologize for coming to you with another ask before I’ve been able to properly thank you for your previous generosity. But as a Calgarian who participated in the incredible community-building exercise that digging out from the 2013 Flood turned out to be, and as both a contributor to, as well as a recipient of the outpouring of generosity that sustained us all through that hardship, I want to turn your attention to the disaster in the Philippines.

Ward 9 is home to a vibrant Philippine Community. Benjie Arias is a leader in that community who, like so many of us only a generation or two ago, came to Canada in search of a better life for his family. Benjie is extremely active in the community and runs the Calgary Philippine Basketball League as a volunteer. He also translated my campaign material into Tagalog. After Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, Benjie approached Team Ward 9 for assistance; at the time of sending this 17 of Benjie’s relatives back home are confirmed casualties of the storm, and 8 remain missing.

Benjie approached Team Ward 9 seeking help and support and we’ve teamed up withFamily Helping Family: YYC for The Philippines. We’re trying to accomplish two things with this event:

  1. the event is focused on raising money for Unicef which will provide long-term institutional support for the people of the Philippines; and,

  2. in the “Come Hell or High Water” Calgary spirit of volunteerism, we’re looking to raise a second tranche of money to equip Benjie’s brother who is based in Manila and who will be heading into the Typhoon-ravaged zone with volunteers and supplies.

Team Ward 9 has launched a website where you can link to purchase tickets to the event this Tuesday and where you’ll also be able to make a donation to aid Benjie’s expedition.

Please forward this to your contacts and consider how you can help a local community support their homeland dig out in the face of the biggest storm on record. Please call me with your ideas and suggestions,

Gian-Carlo and Team Ward 9