Facebook helps local nonprofits assist typhoon victims

LYNNWOOD, Wash -- As a better picture emerges of the level of devastation where Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines, local relief groups are scrambling to help. A non-profit in Lynnwood called Child United turned to Facebook to solicit donations within hours of the first reports of damage.

"The response has been huge," said Child United's Christine Umayam.

Donations of medicines and toiletries make up the bulk of what Child United is collecting. They plan to haul the supplies to the Philippines when they fly out on Thursday. Umayam predicts they'll fill a shipping container with needed supplies and will be on the ground in the disaster zone to personally oversee the distribution.

Getting donations into those hard hit areas is challenging all the relief agencies involved, including World Concern, which flew out on Tuesday.

"This is a long-term crisis," said Jacinta Tegman, the president of World Concern. "We're just meeting the first wave of need right now."

Child United staffers expect to be overseas for about three weeks with return trips planned for next year. While their relief effort is humble in size compared to groups like the Red Cross, volunteers say their hearts and desire to help are just as big. They say even if they only play a small part, their impact can be long lasting.

"If we can just give back that sense of hope that everything is going to be OK and you're going to keep going, I think we've done our part," said Larcy Douglas, a Child United staffer.

Donations are still being sought while the Child United team is overseas. If you want more information about the group, or wish to donate, you can reach their group at their Child United Facebook page.