Burbank school exceeds relief goal for Typhoon Haiyan victims

The nearly 700 students at Joaquin Miller Elementary have raised more than $2,700 for victims of Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippine Islands last month, killing and displacing thousands.

Fifth-grade teacher Melissa Pamperin, whose brother works at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, helped spark the fundraising campaign when she shared photos and images of the damaged city of Tacloban to her students, who suggested they raise money for the victims. The city, about 360 miles southwest of the capital, was one of the hardest hit by the storm.

About a week before Thanksgiving, the students began to pitch in; many of them contributed their allowance money, Pamperin said. Others showed up with coins they found around their homes or birthday money they had saved.

The school’s initial goal was to raise at least $1,000. Educators on campus promised that if the students raised $1,200, they would tack on an additional half an hour to their lunch recess one day.

“We didn’t think we would make the goal, to be honest,” Pamperin said, adding that the school had never raised more than $800 outside of its book fairs.

The personal connection also helped. 

When the typhoon hit, Nick Pamperin began coordinating relief efforts to assist the victims. The devastation was overwhelming.

“He was telling me that the pilots coming back from the water drop-off were saying there was nothing and nobody left,” she recalled.

In the first three days, the school raised $1,000. The money will go to Save the Children who, in turn, will use it to help kids in Tacloban.

“When I told him how much we had raised, he had actually teared up,” she said. “He’s not an emotional guy, but he was pretty emotional.”

As for the staff and teachers on campus, “The whole staff was really proud of the kids for this,” Pamperin added. 


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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