5th Grader Raises $735 for Philippines Typhoon Relief

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“We said $10 but people sent checks for $30 or $40.”

When 11-year-old San Bruno resident Marisa Farrugia saw news footage of the November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan devastation in the Philippines, she was saddened by the desperate situation and decided she would do something to help.

“I saw all the pictures of the damage [the Typhoon] did and how poor some of the people were. They didn’t have enough money to feed themselves and their children, so I wanted to raise money so they could do that,” said Marisa, a St. Robert’s student.

“I thought [the bracelets] would be a good idea. Because they were popular, a lot of people would ask for them,” Marisa added. 

With a clever idea of making and selling bracelets in the colors of the Philippines flag, the help of her parents, and the generous response of the San Bruno community, Marisa raised $735 for the American Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan relief fund, far exceeding her own target of $500.

Marisa’s mother, Deanna Farrugia, helped Marisa make the 55 bracelets, which took between five to ten hours of their time, while Marisa’s father Peter helped promote the fundraiser through Facebook. Marisa was pleasantly surprised by the support she received for the project–many people contributed more than the suggested donation for the bracelets.

“We said $10 but people sent checks for $30 or $40,” she said.

Thanks to generous donations, more than two million Filipinos have benefited from Red Cross services since November. The American Red Cross has spent or committed $28 million toward relief efforts and deployed 43 disaster specialists to distribute items like food, water, mosquito nets, and tools for repairing shelters.

The funds have helped the global Red Cross network to launch its large-scale cash distribution program, which has put much-needed cash in the hands of more than 41,000 families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 

A three-month update about global Red Cross relief efforts can be found on redcross.org.