PHS collects change to make a change in the Philippines


photo illustration by Tiffany Fang, Teo Fleming, and Elena Wu-Yan

Over the course of five days, Typhoon Haiyan moved across Southeast Asia, heavily affecting part of the region, including the Philippines. The typhoon caused 5,959 deaths and left around 4 million people displaced in the Philippines, according to the United States Agency for International Development.

PHS has been doing its part to help the nation through the Pennies for the Philippines and Fun and Food for Philippines fundraiser events. Last year, PHS created a similar fundraiser, holding a benefit variety concert to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“I think that what … these events have in common is just how much the Princeton community wants to get together and wants to help make a change and help the rest of the world,” said Mollie Chen ’14, Student Council’s student body president.

Student Council ran Pennies for the Philippines from December 9 to 16. The fundraiser consisted of a competition between the classes to see which grade could collect the most pennies. Classes received points for pennies in their class jars, and lost points for larger change and bills other classes put in their jars. The senior class won and received munchkins for all of its homerooms.

“We chose this [fundraiser] rather than something else because we thought it would really bring together the school in a friendly, competitive way, while raising money at the same time,” Chen said.

“In addition, we also thought that we would be more likely to receive money because kids would just be like ‘Oh, here’s some change I have in my pocket,’ and [students] would not feel obligated to be donating large amounts,” she said.

In addition to the week-long competition, the Fun and Food for the Philippines event was held after school on Wednesday, December 11. Students from True Blue, UNICEF, Minority Student Achievement Network, and PHS Special Sports sold baked goods and pizza donated by the PTO. Three a cappella groups, the Cat’s Meow, Testostertones, Cloud Nine, as well as the Breakout Club and Jason Li ’16 on behalf of the Chinese Club performed. Students came from all grade levels, and Peer Group leaders brought their freshmen students to the event.

“We knew bake sales usually [get] a lot of attention, and [that] people would pay for food and stuff. So we thought we would include a really big bake sale in [the fundraiser] and then the [performance] portion that was kind of inspired by last year’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Variety show,” said Alexis Epstein ’15, a member of True Blue.

Dean of Students Diana Lygas said she organized the event in response to several students approaching her about fundraising for the Philippines.

“Our students are an engaged population, and they want to help out in causes like [this one]. So right when something happens, the students come and see me and ask if they can do some kind of effort,” Lygas said.

“We raised over $400 for the Philippines, and I really think that that was phenomenal for one day … especially because so much of it was student driven,” she said.

Lygas organized a planning committee for the event and said a variety of students, even those not on the committee, helped by baking.

“I wanted to participate because what we do in True Blue is a lot of promoting happiness and respect and kindness, and we wanted to incorporate that into the event for the Philippines,” said Epstein. “I feel like even though [the typhoon] isn’t local, I still feel a sense of responsibility to help somewhere else that is suffering.”