The Philippines lies in the path of typhoons and earthquakes in Southeast Asia.  Annually, the country is visited by numerous typhoons resulting in catastrophes i.e., mudslide in the Northeastern provinces in the big island of Luzon and floods in the Metro Manila area, and many more calamities.  Lakad Tulong, an ad hoc entity, was formed in response to the devastation wrought by typhoon Frank, when a group of community leaders in the Tri-State area, in cooperation with the Philippine Consulate General in New York, banded together and raised funds to help the victims of this typhoon in 2008.   Because the fund-raising effort was started as a reaction to the disaster, funds took time to be raised and sending the aid to the Philippines even took longer. Nonetheless, the outcome was so successful. As an offshoot of this experience, the community felt it necessary to be proactive instead of being reactive. This led to the decision to establish a foundation solely dedicated to raise “ready” funds to help in a heartbeat, those affected by future devastating natural calamities. Thus, Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc. (HTFI) was born in 2009. Sixteen (16) charter founding members were signatories to the incorporation papers.  It was on January 10, 2010 when HTFI was formally and legally incorporated in the State of New Jersey.  HTFI was granted by the Internal Revenue Service a 501(c) (3) non-profit status with Tax ID# 27-1805860 on February 1, 2010.  The primary purpose of the organization is to raise funds for the needy and victims of natural disasters and catastrophes anywhere around the world, especially in the Philippines.  The foundation is a public entity, and has been successfully raising ready funds to date, which enabled it to send immediate relief, monetary and in kind, in the most expeditious manner.  HTFI has lived up to its name – ready to help when it is much needed.


Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc. is registered as a charity organization in New Jersey with the tax-exempt organization number 271-805-860/000.  To raise funds, two major events are held annually.   The first is a cultural event, usually held the first quarter of the year.  The second major source of funds is the walkathon, aptly called “Lakad Tulong” held in October.  The walkathon, which started in 2009, has become the signature event of HTFI.  For every event, corporate sponsors as well as media sponsors are sought.  Letters of appeal seeking donation are likewise implemented.  All these fund-raising activities have netted enough revenue to allow HTFI to send monetary assistance to the victims at a moment’s notice.   HTFI has established a dedicated corps of volunteers and donors, such as the Central New Jersey Fil-Am Tennis Club, the Filipino Group of the UN, Filipino American Association of Fair Lawn, the Federation of Filipino American Society in New Jersey, the Marriott Hotel, to name a few.  A sizable number of private individuals have also sent in donations, in response to HTFI ‘s appeal for help.  Some are in large sum, the rest are within the budget of a typical charitably inclined individuals, but always, their accompanying notes speak of their heartfelt desire to be part of an effort to help those suffering from catastrophes back home or elsewhere, no matter how little the sum is.    


Since inception of HTFI, as soon as a major disaster or calamity is reported in the media, the President convenes the Board of Trustees, the governing body of HTFI, in an emergency meeting to discuss where and how much money to send, guided by a set of criteria. However, in 2019, as the board grew in number, and to further expedite the process, the Disaster Relief Committee (DRC) was created to be responsible for facilitating the task.  The committee immediately goes into action to evaluate the extent of the disaster and if help is in order. This committee is charged with the following responsibilities: 1. Evaluate donation requests received based on the following guidelines:  a) the recipient of the monetary assistance must be a 501 (c) (3) organization if the organization is based in the United States b) if the recipient is based in the Philippines or any other country, the recipient must be a  verifiable organization, thus, there is a need for a recommendation from a trustee, or a reliable community leader from that country, c) the purpose of such requests must be stated clearly. DRC members shall vet on the request/s and decide before submitting the request to the full board. The Committee is responsible for obtaining proof of receipt and liquidation report from the recipient.  Photos and acknowledgment receipt from the recipient shall be submitted as well. If the Committee recommends a particular charity without a particular request from that organization, the committee shall make sure that this particular charity is fully vetted and has an excellent track record. The committee then recommends the donation requests to the entire Board of Trustees, subject to its approval.  Once the board has approved a particular donation request, the money will be sent via bank-to-bank wire transfer, if it is a foreign donation or by check, if it is within the United States.

Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc. also sent to Cagayan de Oro, care of Xavier University, 42 boxes of towels and linens, for the victims of the flood as a result of Typhoon Sendong in 2011. For Typhoon Yolanda (2013), we sent 91 boxes of linens and towels to the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar, in addition to the money sent to help the victims in the area. 
In 2015, HTFI donated $2,000 to the victims of the big Nepal earthquake thru the Non-Resident Nepali coordination council USA.  Floods in South Carolina and the provinces in Luzon because of strong typhoons (Lando in the Philippines) caused damages and miseries to the people in those areas hit hard by continuous rain.  HTFI sent help amounting to $4,000.  


In 2010, HTFI donated $500 to the flood victims in Pakistan and money was directly given to the Consulate General of Pakistan.  To the tsunami victims in Japan, $1,000 was sent to Caritas Japan.  Both entities have sent in their letters of appreciation thanking the Filipino people for their generosity.  Rightly so, because it was made clear, when the donations were given, that it was on behalf of the Filipino people.
For Typhoon Sendong, the Board of Trustees voted to send the money raised for the victims of typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, but course thru the Philippine Jesuit Foundation in New York, with stipulation that the donation will be given to Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro.  Xavier University was the logical recipient because they were in the forefront of the relief operation, plus they have the infrastructure to do massive relief efforts and a hospital to treat the injured.  HTFI also requested that part of the $17,000 donated be given to Iligan City victims of same typhoon, and to use part of it for the rebuilding effort of Cagayan de Oro.
The devastating flood in most of Luzon and greater Metro Manila, because of continuous monsoon rain in August 2012, mobilized HTFI to organize a fund-raising event aptly named “HTFI_TGIF Pasayaw”. It was a potluck dance held at the Philippine Center in New York on Friday, 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM on August 24, 2012. There was no set amount of donation, but the organization left it to the generosity of the people attending how much they would like to give to help in the relief efforts. All net proceeds were sent to different localities in Metro Manila. The Board of Trustees approved the sending of $1,500 each to Sta. Lucia Parish in Novaliches, Sot. Domingo Church in Quezon City, care of KADAUPAN, which ministered to the evacuees who took refuge in the church, and to Sta. Cruz Laguna Association, which counterpart in their town were doing relief works to the townspeople living by the edge of the lake.
When super storm Sandy hit New York and New Jersey in October 2012, Handang Tumulong Foundation helped 17 Filipino American families in Brighton Beach and Staten Island with a token amount of $200 per family to tide them over while they rebuild their lives turned upside down by the flood which destroyed their belongings and properties.
On October 6, 2012, HTFI held “Lakad Tulong Loves 2 Help 5 K Run/Walk”, the annual main fund-raising event of HTFI. It was held at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The participants were a mixed bag of Filipinos, African American and Hispanics. 
On the first quarter of the year since 2010, the group held a cultural show to raise funds for future calamities, which seems to occur with clockwork precision during the months of August, September, and October. True enough, in October 2012, Super Typhoon Pablo slammed northern Mindanao, creating untold devastation in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. HTFI immediately disbursed $2,000 to Ateneo de Davao University, a Jesuit university, to help their relief efforts for the victims in devastated areas. To increase the relief funds for the Pablo victims, HTFI, with the help of three noted choir groups in New Jersey – Filharmonix Choir, the Bayanihan Singers, and the Kayumanggi Chorale - held a Benefit Concert to raise funds for the victims of typhoon Pablo on January 4, 2013. The event was held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in New York City, and with the support of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, and Consul General Mario De Leon, Jr. $4,340 was sent to Ateneo de Davao to help in the rebuilding effort of the university at the devastated site.
Last September 22, 2013, HTFI held a 5 K Run/walk at Bayonne Park in New Jersey. The Philippine Pediatric Society was active participants having thirty young children join the walk to instill in their young minds the importance of walking to promote good health and prevent obesity.  Plans were already underway for October 4, 2014, for the same activity to raise funds to be held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
HTFI sent funds to aid victims of the recent earthquakes in Bohol province in October 2013. When the strongest typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit the Philippines, HTFI held a concert at St. Vincent Church in Bayonne New Jersey on November 30, 2013. It featured local groups and artists such as the Kayumanggi Chorale, the Bayanihan singers, Ms. Rosemarie Flores and Father Roy Regaspi.  Other organizations also held fund-raising events, namely the Pinoy Aid; Philippine American Chamber of Commerce based in New York, the group of Elton Lugay, and the family and friends of Maritess Lilien of Manhattan, and chose Handang Tumulong Foundation as the beneficiary.  
HTFI presented the world renown group, the Leyte Dance Theater, which members have familial ties to victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, at Montclair State University on June 13, 2014. This cultural show was part of HTFI’s continuing efforts to raise ready funds.   Plans were put in place to increase donations to the rebuilding efforts of the devastated towns in Leyte and eastern Visayas.
Last February 2014, the Philippine Consulate General in New York under the leadership of the Honorable Consul General Mario De Leon embarked on a rehabilitation project for the victims of Eastern Visayas most hardly hit by typhoon Haiyan called Build A Shelter Project, in partnership with the Philippine Jesuit Foundation and Gawad Kalinga.  The Build a Shelter Project also sought partners in this project to build houses for displaced victims of the typhoon. HTFI donated $16,500 towards this goal of building a house at $3,300 each. An additional $1,350.00 was subsequently donated for the project.  Total donation to the Build a Shelter Project in 2014 was $31,114.  
$1,000.00 was given to the Archbishop of Manila, his Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle when he came to New York for his conferment of Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Fordham University, for his program to aid the victims of typhoon Haiyan last February 29, 2014.
To date, for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc. has received approximately $43,000.00 for Haiyan/Yolanda victims.  Future donations for typhoon Haiyan victims would be earmarked for rehabilitation and rebuilding of the affected areas in eastern Visayas.
In 2014, Fairways Inc., a supermarket chain in Manhattan, New York donated $25,000 for victims of natural disasters.  On October 4, 2014, Lakad Tulong Loves To Help 2014 was held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.  It netted $4,842.89.  Another strong typhoon hit Eastern Samar, internationally named Typhoon Hagupit and locally called Typhoon Ruby.  Disaster aid of $5,000 was given to Waray Community USA Association for relief aid to stricken families wanting food and other basic necessities.  Another $3,000 was donated to disaster Tech Lab, an international group with manpower on the ground helping the typhoon victims in Eastern Samar. 
On April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit with 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed 9,934 Nepalis and counting.  Many more went missing and about 23,000 injured.  It was the worst natural disaster that hit Nepal since 1934. The Trustees of Handang Tumulong Foundation immediately voted and approved to donate $2,000 to a Nepalis Organization based in New York, the Non-Resident Nepali Coordination Council USA.  The donation was handed to an officer of the organization during the “Back to the Past to Prepare for the Future” Dinner Dance Fund raising event of the foundation last May 2, 2015.
Last April 2015, HTFI was the beneficiary of the philanthropy of a renowned pianist, Professor Maestro Pierre Luigi Sampietro who donated his amazing genius at the piano to raise funds for the Filipino people.   A concert to present the Mystic Pianist, as he is well known, was held at the Philippine Center on April 10, 2015.  The annual 5k Run/Walk netted $9,500.  Plans are again underway for 2016 to hold fund-raising events.
In 2016, Ecuador was hit with a very strong earthquake. HTFI sent $1,000 course thru the Catholic Relief Service for the earthquake victims.  Italy also suffered extensive damage due to earthquake, and HTFI sent $500 thru Disaster Tech Lab.  Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti so hard affecting the residents.  $500 was donated to All Hands Volunteers which is on the ground working to help the hurricane victims.
2017 was a different year when assistance was needed for victims, not of typhoons, but other natural calamities like the earthquake in Surigao and Batangas, and the flood in Peru for which HTFI donated $500 for each of the regions affected. There were also victims affected by the Siege in Marawi City for which $1,000 was donated for immediate help. 
In January 2018, Mayon Volcano erupted which damaged the rice, corn, and abaca crops of Albay, affecting over 10,000 farmers. HTFI donated $1,000 to help these farmers. In September 2018, South Carolina was hit by Hurricane Florence, damaged because of freshwater flooding due to torrential rain. $1,000 was sent to aid the victims through the All Hands and Hearts Foundation. And at the same time, Typhoon Ompong had particularly caused widespread destruction in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Our assistance of $5,000 reached them by sending the donation through the ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA Kapuso Foundation and Lyceum of Alcala in Cagayan. Christmas 2018 was not a happy one as the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Usman which affected the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas. By January 2019, $2,5000 was donated to these localities immediately through Caritas Manila, Bicol National Association of America and United Mindoro International. 
In 2019, HTFI presented a three-choir concert entitled TATLONG KORO, ISANG LAHI, ISANG MUSIKA, in celebration of the Philippine Independence.  It was held in Jersey City, NJ on June 8, 2019.  Along with the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America, Filharmonix Choir, Kayumanggi Chorale, Inc., and The Bayanihan Singers, the collaboration resulted in a very productive cultural venture which brought in $5,798.14 for HTFI.  2019 was a memorable year, when HTFI celebrated its 10th year anniversary.  Like any other year, HTFI held its 5K Run in October 2019.  Besides having a profit of almost $5,000, the organization was recognized with a “commendation and honor for ten years of dedication and service to those critically affected by natural disasters”, by the Jersey City Municipal Council during the Filipino American History Month. From these donations, monetary help was sent to the victims of Typhoon Tisoy in the regions of Northern Samar, Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon, and victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Before 2019 ended, a strong earthquake shook Mindanao, and HTFI was mobilized and sent $4,500 to North Cotabato and Davao Del Sur. 
Taal Volcano erupted in early January 2020 affecting more than 736,000 people in CALABARZON (Region IV-A), Central Luzon (Region III) and National Capital Region (NCR) and leading to an evacuation of more than 135,000 people, damage to infrastructures and livelihoods, and disruption of essential services.  HTFI collected almost $7,500 from various organizations and distributed the money to different municipalities around Taal Lake through the help of GMA Kapuso Foundation, Philippine Society of General Surgeons (Southern Tagalog Chapter) and many other groups.  Founding President Nelsie Parrado with Steve Parrado were in the Philippines at the time of the eruption and was able to facilitate the preparation and distribution of donation and goods to the evacuees in Batangas.
 Still busy with this natural crisis, the Coronavirus Pandemic was announced by the WHO in March 2020 and HTFI along with Kappa Epsilon Alumni Association of North America (KEAANA), responded by sending $2,000 for the purchase of CoVID 19 PPE for frontliners and medical supplies through the help of the Quezon Medical Society in Lucena City.  In June 2020, Masbate was shaken by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake for which HTFI sent monetary assistance through the Masbate Association of America, Inc.
With these number of calamities and much needed money for donation, HTFI stood its grounds and continued accepting donations, and conducted its annual 5K Race fundraiser, virtually for the first time. Surprisingly, this unique virtual race garnered $8,000 higher than the previous year. Along with donations from other generous donors, friends and organizations, the Association of Filipino Physicians of Toms River in New Jersey donated $7,000, allowing HTFI to respond in a timely manner to a huge number of donation requests as three typhoons - Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses, hit the Philippines in November and December 2020. The scope of affected regions was so massive, from Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR). Donations were sent to these provinces through communications with various local groups in the Philippines such as Ateneo De Naga University, Rotary Club of Legazpi North, Catanduanes International Association, Inc., Diocesan Action Center-Ilagan, Inc. Gawad Kalinga USA (GK1 World Foundation), JCI Philippine-New York, Rotary Club - Camarines Norte, Rotary Club of Metro Sorsogon, Rotary Club of Pasay Southwest, St. Agnes Academy Alumni Association and Montessori de Cagayan. The total amount donated to all these localities was $23,500.00.
2021 was another challenging year for HTFI, as the request for immediate relief assistance resulting from the 2020 devastation, continued to pour in.  Fortunately, a group of Filipino restauranteurs from Washington DC who conducted a fund-raising event called Dacha Nay Yard Filipino Fiesta, opted to make HTFI recipient of their $7,200 donation. This amount was the proceeds from their fund-raising activity. The pandemic is still strongly felt, especially with the surge of the Delta variant, and at that time community pantries were uniquely established in many places in the Philippines to help our hungry communities. HTFI sent $2,000 to these places through Caritas Kalookan, Inc., Asian Center for Continuing Education and Social Solidarity, Inc. and NowheretogobutUP Foundation, Inc. in UP Diliman, Quezon City. Haiti was also hit by a strong earthquake and HTFI sent $2,000 through the Hands Up For Haiti Foundation. Through our flagship project, the 11th HTFI Annual 5K Run, with a net income of $6,000, was able to respond to aid the victims of Typhoon Odette, a Category 5 super typhoon. It caused serious damage in many provinces of Siargao, Dinagat, Surigao del Norte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, parts of Cebu, Palawan, and islands in surrounding waters.  But by the grace of God and generosity of various donors, specially U.P. Medical Alumni Society in America, which donated $5,000, among other donors who directly shared their monetary contributions, HTFI was able to distribute a total amount of $23,270.00.  Over an 8-week period, the funds were sent through different groups in the Philippines such as Caritas Manila, Diocese of Tagbilaran, Zonta Club 1 of Cebu, Tanging Yaman Foundation, Rotary Club of Sorsogon, Maasin City Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Surigao Midtown Jewels, and the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc.  As of March 8, 2022, HTFI has disbursed a total amount of donations worth $273,947.41 since inception.
The Board of Trustees is committed to perform their duties and fiduciary responsibilities, with much sensitivity to the needs of the public they serve as a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.  The aim is for the operation and handling of monies transparent and pass muster.  Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc.  has proven worthy of the public trust, and it is the hope that it will remain as such, especially for the sake of the “Kababayans,” who are the beneficiaries of all the joint efforts of the volunteers, the donors, and the sponsors.