After Haiyan

Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) slammed through the Philippines a few days ago. Because all forms of communication from affected areas were cut off, it is only now that we are beginning to see the extent of damage to lives and property. Seeing the images of entire towns flattened to the ground, debris and dead bodies floating in flood waters, people looting the malls because they have not eaten in days – one cannot simply stand by and do nothing. We are used to experiencing typhoons. We have more than 20 a year on the average. But this was no ordinary typhoon. The destruction it caused is unparalleled. It got our family thinking: How can we help?

In previous years, we donated old clothes to the typhoon victims. We gather the clothes that no longer fit, pack them and send them off. We would write a check and send it to a reputable organization to help in their activities. But this time, I wanted it to be more personal. I asked the kids to think of other ways to help. All of us thought of little ways for each of us to help.

This is what we came up with. Yes, we will still donate clothes, food and other personal items. Yes, we will still write a check and send it to a reputable organization. But aside from those, we will also give up a little something every day. Instead of buying that piece of candy, the kids will donate the money. Instead of buying a cup of coffee, we will donate the money. Instead of giving gifts to friends and family this Christmas, we will donate the money and hope they understand. Little things, yes; but aside from the clothes and the check, they also mean that we are sending our hearts.

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