Cassandra Hepburn and SPAN- Helping the Philippines Back to Prosperity

Community News, News — By on January 15, 2014 at 5:07 am

Cover Photo-Cassandra Hepburn, 2nd from right, spearheaded a fundraiser for the relief effort in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan. She united a pastor, Pastor Jonathan Morris and Rabbi Jason Sobel, pictured with Louis Gossett Jr., second from left. Photo by The Scoop LA. Inside photo- Louis Gossett Jr. displays a T shirt from his organization "Eracism." Photo by Sandra Gail Brown.

By Buddy Sampson

Natural disasters occur very unexpectedly, often to devastating effect. When disasters happen, such as in the recent catastrophe in the Philippines last year, caused by Typhoon Haiyan, disaster relief is sometimes a very slow and painstaking process. Those that are victims of natural disasters, who are most in need, often find that help, because of logistics, governmental policies and greed, either takes weeks to arrive or in some case, doesn’t arrive at all. There are advocates that want to help change that credo and Cassandra Hepburn is one of those advocates. Hepburn recently spearheaded an event, a fundraiser at the Malibu West Beach Club in December- an effort to raise funds for disaster relief in the Philippines.

Hepburn is best known for roles in soaps “Days of Our Lives,” and “The Young and the Restless,” along with roles in the movie “Surfer Dude,” and in “Quentin Tarantino Presents: Hellride.” She has also been featured as a model, gracing the magazines Maxim and People magazine, among others. But why get involved with such a venture? “Because I was born in Tacloban City, which was the hardest hit area and I lost family,” said Cassandra Hepburn. “I was just in the Philippines and I just got back and I missed the typhoon by hours.  So it’s personal. I love my people. I just reconnected with them. I was there on a mission crusade with a fellowship and now I bought the Gentiles and Jews together, because I have a Rabbi and a pastor helping to raise funds for my country.” Hepburn explained that 100% percent of the proceeds that were raised at the event and donated in the future, will be going to help rebuild churches in the Philippines and its surrounding communities. Working along with SPAN RELIEF (Strategic Partners Among Nations) and FusionGlobal, Hepburn is committed to making a difference to help others and the event attracted a few celebrities, including Louis Gossett Jr. and Cassandra Gava (Conan The Barbarian) who lent their support.

“Cassandra (Hepburn) is a very good friend,” said Louis Gossett Jr. “And the place where she was born was the place that was hit the hardest. So that alone was enough for me to help in her cause raising money. They’ve frozen the money in the Philippines, no one is getting anything. They have frozen the banks. You think Haiti was bad; this is ten times worse.” Gossett Jr. also heads an organization called Eracism, an organization dedicated to eradicating racism for people of color. “The only way for us to cooperate on this globe is to drop the things that keep us from cooperating, racism for example, the automatic assumption that someone is better than someone else.” Gossett Jr. is slated to receive an award for his work in helping in making Los Angeles known as one of the nation’s truly ethnically diverse cities, an award well-deserved for his advocacy on that issue.

When asked what more countries, for example the United States, can do, in terms of aid, Hepburn was quite candid. “They need to still bring rebuilding aid,” said Hepburn. “Right now, there are people that are still homeless or displaced. It’s like all of a sudden, people just forgot about the Philippines. Because I think, a lot of people got jaded because of the Haiti incident, in how we raised almost a billion dollars for Haiti, but a lot of it never showed up into the country and a lot of the officials pocketed it. And so they’re afraid that’s happening in the Philippines. That’s why I like to go with the grassroots organizations, like SPAN, because I know personally, their funds do go out to the actual cause.”

Louis Gossett Jr. also believes that we have to pay more attention to the environment. “Something tells me that God is patting us on the shoulder and saying “pay attention to the planet, because it will be here, but we won’t.” For more information on how to donate to this worthy cause, please visit Special thanks to Mark Valinsky and Francine Marseille for their assistance in this story.

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