By LIZ BUTTON
A brother and sister from Rye’s Osborn School organized a charity drive to collect Pennies for the Philippines after a destructive typhoon hit the country earlier this month.
Ava Flosse, 9, and her seven-year-old brother Christian helped collect $414 from their schoolmates to support the typhoon relief efforts of the American Red Cross after the devastating storm in the southeastern Asian country on Nov. 8.
Typhoon Haiyan blew across the western Pacific Ocean two weeks ago and pummeled the islands with sustained winds of 195 miles per hour. At least 13 million Filipinos of the country’s 96 million people were affected by the storm; as of Nov. 18, the death toll is estimated at 4,000 people.
Ava, Christian and their mother, Nicolette, collected donations after school near the front entrance of Osborn School each day during the week of Nov. 11 to support the relief effort.
“The children and I were trying to figure out something to do,” Nicolette Flosse said. The family decided ollecting actual monetary donations would be the best plan.
Most foreign relief organizations discourage people from sending care items or canned food during disasters, since it is harder for victims to get the goods given travel delays and the red tape that can crop up in the aftermath of catastrophic events such as the typhoon.
Two years ago, Flosse said, she helped the children set up a stand to sell homemade lemonade by the glass for a dollar to benefit children with cancer and they made more than $1,100 over the course of several days.
This time, the Flosses went door to door asking for money at first, but then Osborn Principal Angela Garcia suggested Ava and Christian stand outside of the school to solicit donations, Nicolette said.
“People have been throwing in all kinds of change. It’s really sweet to see the children come and give to our project,” she said. One Osborn mother even came by the Flosse house and donated $100 to the effort.
In these difficult economic times, giving to charity is still a sensitive topic since people are still hurting financially during the recession. For this reason, the Flosse family only asked for coins, figuring that if people wanted to do more, they could.
“It was just beautiful. We didn’t want to ask for more than change,” Nicolette said, but she was overwhelmed by the results.
The family dropped the money off at the Red Cross in Greenwich, Conn., on Monday.
Nicolette Flosse said she was touched by the outpouring of support from the community for victims in need. Besides the Red Cross, where the Flosses donated, other major relief organizations that are accepting donations for the Philippines include Oxfam, Mercy Corps, UNICEF, Direct Relief International and Global Giving.
Westchester County’s Filipino population is significant, and some may have family across the sea who need help. The Census American Community Survey estimates that 7,629 Westchester residents are Filipino as of 2012.