489 4 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

As foreign governments and agencies struggle alongside the Philippine government to assist thousands of survivors in desperate need, one East Tennessee native is preparing to open his doors to some of the storm's most vulnerable victims: orphans.

Marc Morris left Tennessee in 1987, bound for an internship in the Philippines as he studied for his Masters of Divinity. He is now the president of Friends of Samaritan's Place, an non-profit organization that cares for orphans and recruits adoptive families in the United States.

"We are available to assist if need be because we are anticipating that there will be an increase in the number of orphans from this calamity," said Morris on Monday via Skype.

The orphanage is located about 320 miles south of the worst devastation in a town called Silang and while the storm dumped strong winds and heavy rain on their location, Morris says the damage is minimal.

They spent the morning packing boxes of shoes and clothes to ship to their northern neighbors. He says they've also been in contact with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare Development to alert them of their willingness to take in children. However, Morris suspects officials will try to keep affected children closer to home since their region speaks a different language.

Morris, who also traveled to Japan in the wake of that nation's devastating earthquake, says he knows recovery will be months and even years in the making.

"You don't really grasp the survivor experience on a large scale," said Morris. "What you're dealing with is hundreds and probably thousands of people have been severely traumatized."

And he says they will continue to offer support to impacted children.

"Really, the battles are just beginning for the survivors and for the relief effort."

To donate to Friends of Samaritan's Place click here

To donate to the Red Cross click here

489 4 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1cgryoV