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Students Hope to Inspire Others to Help Typhoon Victims

I have tons of things, and they don't have anything.

They may only be in elementary school but four students at Copper Ridge Elementary in Knoxville are hoping to raise hundreds of dollars to help people devastated by a massive typhoon that swept across the Philippines nearly a month ago.

The group is led by Taylor Cusmano, a fifth grade student who says she wanted to help after watching TV and seeing the severity of the damage. “There’s no food, no clean water, people are using cardboard and scrap metal as a home,” said Cusmano. The memories of what she saw even caused her to become emotional when explaining why the cause was so important to her. "I have tons of things, and they don't have anything.”

With the help of her brother and two schoolmates, Cusmano launched "Project Philippines." The program was launched during the Thursday morning announcements at their school. The team put together a power point presentation to help market the project and have put various donation buckets around the school. Now they hope their fellow students will find it in their hearts to give as much as they can.

While their $750 goal might not sound like a lot, Red Cross East Tennessee Regional CEO Michelle Hankes says the effort could have a huge impact. "Taylor’s work is a huge inspiration to so many. Others are going to hear about the great work she’s doing and they’re going to want to be a part of it. The fruits of her project goes way beyond dollars and cents,” says Hankes.

Taylor isn't stopping at her school. The group is taking their presentation to churches and organizations all over the area to try and drum up even more donations.