When sisters Jennifer and Kimberly Taylor heard about Typhoon Haiyan, they were devastated. “I was really shocked and worried because I hadn’t heard from my family in the Philippines,” Jennifer said. The girls’ mother, Flora, is from the Philippines and her family still live there – just north of the worst hit areas.“My uncle lost the roof of his house and he was able to move in withcousins,” Jennifer said. Others survivors, however, were not as lucky.Many homes, hospitals and clinics were severely damaged or destroyed in the mega storm.
Ten-year-old Jennifer and nine-year-old Kimberly decided they wanted to help survivors and came up with the idea of selling Rainbow Loom Bracelets, a popular fashion accessory and trend among school kids.
Chris Taylor, the girls’ father, heard about Project HOPE, a medical humanitarian organization, on local news station WTOP. “They were saying that for every dollar donated, Project HOPE would send $105 worth of medical supplies to help out,” Taylor said. He decided that Project HOPE was the right organization for his daughters’ fundraiser.
The girls’ fundraiser quickly gained momentum, and they found themselves making bracelets with a team of 5 – 10 people daily throughout their lunch period, as well as at home, to keep up with demand. The team set up its work station on the stage in the school cafeteria and charged 50 cents for rings and $1 for bracelets.
With the holiday season upon us, rainbow loom bracelet sales are up. “Some people have come repeatedly for Christmas gifts. They figure the bracelet is a good gift since it’s for a good cause,” Jennifer said.
The girls have raised $670 so far and hope the money will be used to provide medicines and supplies for people badly injured by Typhoon Haiyan. Project HOPE has already shipped over $2.3 million in donated medicines to the Philippines and has medical volunteers on the ground to assist communities in the Western Visayas region and on the Camotes Islands surrounding Cebu in central Philippines.
The worries continue for the girls, who understand that rebuilding the Philippines is a long-term commitment, requiring long-term support from organizations like HOPE. “We’ll take a break after Christmas break and start selling again in the spring,” Jennifer said.
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