A shoe box packed in memory of a local girl made it all the way to the Philippines, to brighten the life of a little boy who lost everything he owned in Typhoon Haiyan.
Each year, the Butterfly Fund sends Emily Boxes around the world as part of Operation Christmas Child, sharing a bit of holiday cheer with people who are less fortunate than we are. They are named for Emily Barger, a little girl who died of a rare cancer in 2008.
This year, the gifts were meant to go to Guatemala, but one of them popped up in the Philippines, where thousands of people have been displaced because of that massive storm.
One of the founders of the Butterfly Fund, Misty Barger, received this message:
My name is Michael Dytynyshyn and I work for Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief. This evening I was going for my evening run after my days work on the island of Bantayan in the Philippines, and a little boy started waving a piece of paper at me. I stopped and it was the letter that I have attached in this message. It was starting to get dark so I rushed back to where we are staying to grab my phone to send you this picture. It was dark by the time I got back so I'm sorry for the bad quality. I leave early in the morning so I'm unable to return and get a better one.
I read the letter quickly, I would like to offer my sympathies for the loss of your daughter. When I was 4, I lost my older brother to a brain tumour and as you know it was very difficult on my parents.
I'm guessing someone packed an OCC shoe box on your behalf and I'm blessed to be able to share the picture of the kid who received it. (I don't speak the local language, so I didn't get the whole story... it could have been his sisters or something).
His name is Mike also, and his house has been badly damaged by the typhoon. They have temporally fixed it from with tarps that have been provided by Samaritan's Purse. They have also received hygiene kits and High Energy Biscuits during these tough times.
I would like to thank you (or whoever packed the box) for your gift as it is truly making a difference in peoples lives.
"Most of these kids have never received a gift before in their lives, and this box is just a special gift to them. It's also a gospel opportunity for them to hear the word of Christ, " said Blair Barger with the Butterfly Fund.
10News has been following the story of a Knoxville missionary who is helping victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. You can see her stories here, and you can help victims of Typhoon Haiyan by going here.