Located halfway around the world, the need for assistance in the Philippines remains at the heart of a local woman.
Meddy Ruck, of Wapakoneta, is raising money to send to her family in the Philippines who were struck by tragedy during Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Ruck, along with other friends, family members and volunteers are making homemade egg rolls and spring rolls as a fundraiser for her family.
Originally from Zamora, Philippines, Ruck moved to the United States to live with her husband, Kevin Ruck, in 2006.
During the recent event, Ruck suffered the loss of two family members, her aunt and uncle, who died in the flood waters of the city of Tacloban. They were in their 70s, and Ruck said they were simply not strong enough to make it out.
The rest of her family, including her son, her sister and her brother’s families were able to escape.
After she received news about the typhoon, Ruck said she spent many “agonizing” days and nights worried about her family, with whom she was unable to make contact.
“I went to work floating because I could not sleep,” Ruck said, fearing the worst for her family.
Finally, through Facebook, Ruck said she heard from a friend who informed her that her family was fine. She learned her son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren ages 13, 8, and 7, were all safe.
After being trapped in a flooding building, the three children and their mother floated close to the ceiling for hours.
“It was just in time for them to be able to get out,” Ruck said. “Thank God they were able to swim.”
Their recovery, however, is an ongoing process, and Ruck said she did not know how long it may be before they overcome the physical and emotional struggles of getting “back to normal.”
Ruck said one of her grandsons will need psycho-social intervention due to the traumatizing events. Currently, he is receiving “lots of love” through his family to help him cope.
While many Filipinos are still trapped in the city of Tacloban, Ruck said she is grateful that her family was able to escape the city.
Ruck described the debris and dead bodies lying in Tacloban streets.
“Right now, Tacloban is not livable,” Ruck said. “Within the city, it is terrible.”
Even the relocation efforts to Cebu, Philippines, are not manageable, Ruck said.
“I don’t want them to stay there for very long because they might get sick,” Ruck said about the people living in relocation tents. “Where would the water come from — the sewer, the canal? There is no power.”
Ruck said she is thankful that her family was able to get away from the city and relocation efforts and move into her parents’ house.
Once Ruck was able to make contact with her family, she said she had a heartbreaking phone conversation with her grandson who was still terrified of the unceasing rain.
“I told him, ‘You don’t have to be scared anymore — you’re safe there,’ ” Ruck said.
After assessing his house in Tacloban, Ruck’s son told her they would need to rebuild almost from scratch. The house is full of mold and everything inside is wet. The concrete structure is the only remaining piece of the house that is intact.
Never-the-less, the family will rebuild.
The funds raised through egg roll sales and donations will all be going toward the rebuilding of the house and the needs of her family, Ruck said.
“It is going to take a lot of work to rebuild that house,” Ruck said, explaining the wood, windows, cabinets, roof, and everything else will need to be replaced.
Ruck said she was amazed from the response she has already received from her fundraiser.
While she has not specifically asked for donations, Ruck said she has received many checks labeled “for your family” in support of her efforts.
Ruck said she is asking $8 for a dozen egg or spring rolls, but she will accept donations.
“I’m just asking for people to help me with my crusade focused on my family,” Ruck said.
Ruck said the fundraiser is helping her “share her culinary experience.”
The egg rolls are made from a ground pork and vegetable recipe that is prepared from scratch, and the spring rolls contain a homemade vegetable and chicken recipe. Both are wrapped in a Filipino “lumpia” wrapper.
Ruck makes a homemade sweet and sour sauce, or whatever sauce the purchaser wishes, to go along with the rolls.
Ruck then freezes the rolls until she delivers them.
Ruck said she has passed out order forms at Walmart and St. Marks Lutheran Church in Wapakoneta.
She said her friend Tess Battle passed out order forms at St. Rita’s Medical Center, where she has received a great amount of support.
Anyone interested in placing an order can contact her at 419-738-7005.