How These Teens Are Making a Difference in the Philippines

The typhoon that tore through the Philippines last month left entire cities destroyed and displaced thousands of people. Victims were left with no homes and have struggled to live on aid brought by relief efforts.

In the wake of the disaster, many people, clubs and organizations have put efforts into raising money or collecting supplies to help victims. One of these clubs is the DoSomething.org club at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, VA! The 15 members of the club ran a super successful drive at their school and in their community to collect supplies to send to the Philippines. They linked up with a local rehabilitation center that shipped 20 boxes of supplies to Roxas City, in the Philippines, as well as LBC Shipping Company which has been shipping relief supplies.

We got a chance to talk to the club’s president, Nirali Shah, about the drive and what made it so successful. Check it out below!

DoSomething.org: What inspired you to run this drive?

Nirali Shah: Disaster relief is an important cause to my club. We ran a very successful drive for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and thought we could definitely do the same for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Our community has a wonderful response to immediate relief drives, as well!

DS: What kind of items did you collect?

NS: We collected backpacks, first aid kits, vitamins, shampoo, candles, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, batteries, blankets, feminine hygiene products, food, canned goods, granola bars, baby food and formula, bottled water, disposable utensils, and clothes.

DS: How did the drive work and who donated? Was it just in your school, or your entire community?

NS: The drive was brought to my club’s attention by a parent at school. The parent emailed the schools Career Center Specialist who then sent out a mass email to the student body asking for help with the drive. I immediately jumped on it and told my club we had been wanting to do something for the Philippines, but didn't know if we would be able to find someone to ship the goods we collected. I sent the school a proposal for the drive and it was approved the next morning. The parent who brought it to our attention put us in contact with Caregivers Home Health Services. We advertised to the student body, entire staff, and to outside sources via newspaper. The entire community contributed!

DS: What steps did you take that made the drive so successful?

NS: Our advertising and urgency was definitely what made the drive successful. Without it, I don't think we could have nearly gotten as many donations as we did. The day we found about the drive, we immediately created advertisements for the school (powerpoint for morning announcements) and sent out mass emails to the community (to about 30 local churches, a local newspaper, and the entire school staff). We moved quickly and efficiently, because we knew that Caregivers Home Health Services were shipping donations out on Dec 1st and all donations had to be collected, sorted, and delivered to them before Thanksgiving break (Nov. 27th).

DS: Are you taking any further action to help victims of the Philippines?

NS: We are pairing up with a couple of local Filipino churches who are raising money through youth basketball tournaments and other church fundraising means to donate to Catholic Relief Services. We plan to help them on Dec 12/13. We can only collect goods in school - no money, so we're helping the churches with cash fundraising on the side.

DS: What do you hope others get from hearing your story?

NS: I hope teens our age know that taking action only takes mental drive. In just a week, we coordinated an entire collection drive and brought in 1,500+ items. With the right team, advertising, and mindset you can truly make a difference!

Typhoon Haiyan: Get the facts about the storm that ravaged the Philippines. GO

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