NYC-Area Kids Reach Out to Young Storm Victims in the Philippines

Hurricane Sandy Survivors Help to Collect More than 60,000 Christmas Gifts for Airlift to Children Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan

For more than half of her young life, she has reached out to them—children in lands far away whose lives have been devastated by natural disaster, disease, war and famine. Now Samantha Sourbeck of Long Island, a young storm victim herself, understands better than ever the comfort found in a stranger's compassion.

“After Hurricane Sandy, the generosity of friends and strangers restored our hope. I want to share that same hope with typhoon victims in the Philippines, especially the kids,” said Sourbeck, who has packed Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts for more than a decade. As it turns out, the 20-year-old traveled to the Philippines this past July to help deliver shoebox gifts with Operation Christmas Child, a project of international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Sourbeck never anticipated the communities she visited would soon be devastated by one of the worst storms in the country’s history.

This Christmas season, Sourbeck and kids impacted by Hurricane Sandy want to make sure that young victims of Typhoon Haiyan know that they are loved and not forgotten. With the help of New York and New Jersey communities, they have helped collect more than 60,000 shoeboxes—filled with necessity items, toys, school supplies and notes of encouragement—for children in the Philippines.

WHAT: Kids impacted by Hurricane Sandy and Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham will host a shoebox send-off after more than 60,000 gift-filled shoeboxes are loaded for a 747 airlift to the Philippines.

DATE: Thu, Dec. 12, 2013

10:00 a.m. ET – Plane arrives
10:15 a.m. ET – Cargo loading
10:30 a.m. ET – Send-off event
11:15 a.m. ET – Plane departs

LOCATION: JFK International Airport, Hanger 19

On-Site Media Contact: Karen Dye, 404.538.8591 cell

Operation Christmas Child is a kids-helping-kids project that will send 9.8 million simple gift-filled shoeboxes to hurting children in more than 100 countries this year. Before the typhoon, Operation Christmas Child already dedicated 500,000 shoebox gifts for delivery to the hurting children in the Philippines. Now thanks to New York and New Jersey’s Hurricane Sandy survivors—who know first-hand the devastation a storm can cause—another 60,000 children in the Philippines will know they are loved. Several thousand shoebox gifts from Filipino churches in Canada will also be included in the airlift.

It’s not too late to participate in sending hope to needy kids this Christmas. Through an online virtual-packing tool, Operation Christmas Child enables donors to choose and send Christmas gifts to children in difficult circumstances.

By visiting, virtual shoebox packers can select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of culturally relevant gifts, “build” a box, and finish it off by uploading a photo and writing a note of encouragement to the child who will receive it. Then, using tracking technology, participants can follow the box to the country where it will be delivered. It’s a convenient, yet meaningful way to join in a project that will bring hope to kids living in difficult situations.

ADDITIONAL AID: Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, Samaritan’s Purse was on the ground in the Philippines, working with local partners to deliver desperately needed aid to storm victims. Since the storm hit, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered some 100 tons of emergency relief supplies, including clean water, food, shelter materials and medical supplies. A second airlift is scheduled for this Friday which will include additional shelter supplies and a helicopter, to help the organization's disaster teams respond more quickly to people in areas of the Philippines that are difficult to reach by road.

After Hurricane Sandy, Samaritan’s Purse immediately deployed response teams to locations in Ocean County, New Jersey, and Nassau County, New York. To date, Samaritan’s Purse has invested nearly $3 million into Sandy relief efforts. Samaritan’s Purse continues to work in Ocean and Nassau counties helping families with insulation repair and other construction repairs.

For public information on Samaritan’s Purse or Operation Christmas Child visit