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Missoula resident starts drive to help Philippines

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 11 2013 09:47:12 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 11 2013 09:50:10 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Aid is trickling into areas devastated by a super typhoon that tore through the Philippines over the weekend.

The government knows it needs to get supplies to the people living in Haiyan and Tacloban.  Authorities now say almost 10 million people were affected by the typhoon, which is one of the most powerful storms to ever hit land.

One Missoula resident from the Philippines is organizing a relief drive for victims.  NBC Montana met with her this afternoon to get the details.

June Noel moved to the United States with her mother 9 years ago.  Her father and many other relatives still live in the Philippines.  Noel tells us they're safe but hundreds of thousands of others are displaced.

“I feel like now that this happened to the Philippines I really just kind of have to go all out and see what I can do and reach out to the Missoula community,” Noel tells NBC Montana. 

She says even before the typhoon slammed the islands, many residents were already struggling to get by.

“They're one of the poorest, really poor places in the Philippines,” she tells us.  “A lot of those islands, they're kind of little islands so they're hard to get to.”   

Now Noel is rallying the community to donate supplies that will be sent to the Philippines.

She is collecting very simple items for care packages, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, new or used clothing, tents and sleeping bags.   

“We're collecting even just old running shoes, because anything at this point would help,” she says. 

Noel says she just launched the relief drive Monday morning and already has an overwhelming response.

“Everyone has been really, super helpful about it and kind of giving me the reassurance that I’m doing something good,” she tells us. 

Orange Street Food Farm, Army Navy Adventure Source, Runners Edge, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center and University Center managers have all agreed to set up donation boxes.

“We’re not even taking cash donations,” says Noel.  “Just used items or anything you guys want to get rid of, because I think a lot of people in the Philippines could really use them.”

Noel wants to have care packages ready to ship by Friday, November 22.  She's working with different groups to get the items to Seattle.  From there an aid group will send the packages to the Philippines.

For a full list of donation items needed, or to get involved in the relief drive, click here.