Heaps of clothing, blankets, first-aid supplies and non-perishable food items fill the floor of Zach De Leon’s garage. When word got out that the 17-year-old Rio Americano High School student wanted to spend his Thanksgiving break in the Philippines helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan, donations from fellow students and faculty poured in. On a chilly evening last Thursday, De Leon packed only the items he deemed most useful in a disaster, cramming what he could into four large cargo boxes to take to the airport. On Friday, he and his mother flew to Manila. They will spend a week traveling, hoping to visit some of the areas most devastated by the typhoon. De Leon is the first-born child of Filipino immigrants and he says he feels a moral obligation to help people in the Philippines, even though his family wasn’t directly affected. “Every Thanksgiving you say grace and you say you’re thankful,” he says. “I feel like this way, I’m kind of showing it.”
– Lezlie Sterling
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