Community News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

CHURCHES DONATE THE MOST MONEY FOR DISASTER RELIEF DRIVE

The more than $147,000 in monetary donations collected during the "American Samoa Disaster Relief Fund & US Hurricane Support" fundraisers, spearheaded by the American Samoa Government, will be split between the national American Red Cross and the local Red Cross office, says Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

The drive was held to help victims affected by natural disasters in parts of the US and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

ASG's funding raising committee, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga and Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega, delayed until the governor returned to the territory two Fridays ago, the official announcement of how much money was collected and how it's to be distributed.

Mauga announced at last Wednesday's cabinet meeting that $147,255.24 was collected, and he thanked committee members, many of whom are ASG employees. He also thanked local churches, non profit groups, government entities, businesses, and the community.

“We want to give you a heartfelt thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You stand beside the government in every way, in every shape, not only in this occasion, but so many times we ask you to help us, you again stepped up to the plate. And all we can say is fa’afetai lava,” Mauga said.

After citing a verse from the Bible, Mauga continued, “Whatever comes our way, what problems this world gives us, if we put our hearts together, and give it to the Lord, you know and I know, things will work out.”

A summary report of the fundraising was distributed at the cabinet meeting and Lolo was appreciative of all the effort that was put into it.

“If you look at the summary report… it tells the story of who we are”, he said, adding that the largest donations were from religious groups, followed by the government.

According to the report, “Religions/Denominations” gave $35,300; followed by ASG departments/agencies with $27,723; villages donated 18,900.

Others such as “businesses” donated $14,570; “combined village & church” $14,050; $5,423 from organizations/ associations, and individual donations totaled $3,605.

The report states that cases of tuna sold with proceeds towards the disaster fund total $2,484 so far. And as of Nov. 21st, the date of the report, 194 cases were left to be sold at $6 — which will bring in $1,164 if they all sell.

The report also shows that $3,605 came from ASG departments’ collection points and $9,148  was received through the local Red Cross.

The governor said “our belief” is “put God first and that is reflected in the large donation from churches.”

Lolo said half of the total donations will go to the national American Red Cross to help affected states and territories, and the balance will go to the local Red Cross, which continues to provide services to the public during disasters, despite difficulties they face.

He said it's community donations that help the local Red Cross with its mission.

BLACK FRIDAY CAME AND WENT

Traffic on the west side was backed up and parking lots of the major retail outlets were packed last Friday morning, when businesses opened up two hours early for the biggest sale day of the year: Black Friday.

There was no school and a good number of adults took Friday off, as a continuation of the Thanksgiving holiday the day before, making for a four-day weekend for most families.

Samoa News got caught up in the action at Neil's ACE Home Center in Malaeimi. The company wasn't only offering deals for Black Friday, they were also celebrating their 33rd anniversary.

Consumers started arriving about an hour before the scheduled early morning opening time. Samoa News understands that the crowd was so big, people were shuffled into the store in groups, to control the foot traffic.

Cost-U-Less was no different, with people arriving early to take advantage of the deals on electronics such as television sets. Down the street in the Nuuuli area, it was congested as expected, in front of the Laufou Shopping Center as BlueSky Communications and CBT (across the street) were offering huge deals on various items.

Samoa News spoke to several business representatives who said they aren't expecting sales to be great this holiday season, as the economy is in such a bad state.

"Of course we know sales will not be great this year but all we can do is drop the prices on certain items that families need, things that are necessities in the home," said one store manager.

With cannery workers returning to work today after a 5-week closure, and the recent reduction in work hours for government employees, times are tough and many people are trying to budget and tighten up on spending.

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