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Little local group making big difference for kids in typhoon-ravaged Philippines

A child in the Philippines holds donated goods sent from the Seattle area by Lynnwood-based Child United (Child United Facebook)

Last week, we spoke with Christine Umayam, founder of Lynwood-based Child United, just as she was about to leave for a trip to the Philippines. Now that she’s been there for a week, she says she has been able to do some amazing work.

She called me from her hotel in Butuan and told me about one of her treks to a remote island, where a convent had been almost completely destroyed by the typhoon.

Not only did she bring relief supplies for the villagers, but she brought a check, money raised by the Holy Rosary Church in West Seattle.

“The nuns were crying. I mean, they were literally crying,” she told me. “Because they had prayed the night before for any help possible. They cried because they thought God had answered their prayers. If you would have seen how they were living, the convent was reduced to rubble. The chapel roofs were torn off and the schools roof were torn off and they had no water. And now the nuns are secure in the fact they can stay and help the community around them.”

Christine says the check for about $1,000 will go far. It might even be enough for them to rebuild the convent.
She says the convent is not only a spiritual home for the community, it’s where all the local children go to school.

This weekend, Child United is holding a boxing party in Ballard. They’re expecting more than 100 volunteers to put together about 500 boxes of relief supplies. And they’re getting local children involved, too.

“They’re going to put together a letter and a child-care package with a toy and candy, something to lighten up the kids. We’re hoping to do a lot more of that too because we’re Child United and our priority is definitely children and having children connect locally with children overseas. I just that it will help the kids there,” she said.

Even though her trip to the Philippines is just about over, Christine has already made plans to return in January to pass out those relief supplies.

Along with the Ballard fundraiser, there’s also a fundraiser Friday night (tonight) in Bellevue. Child United will be at Lucky Strike in Lincoln Square from 6-11 pm, holding a raffle and accepting donations for typhoon relief.

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