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Ladner man helping with typhoon relief efforts

Joseph Johnson volunteering in the Philippines
Ladner’s Joseph Johnson has helped with typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines.

A Ladner man currently in the Philippines has been volunteering with typhoon relief efforts there.

Joseph Johnson, 24, has spent time packing care packages as well as loading and unloading the truckloads of resources at a local university, Ateneo de Manila.

"There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of students there day and night, sometimes even right through the night until the next morning," he said in an email to the Optimist. "No one in the area of Metro Manila was directly in any danger from the typhoon, but even so people felt the need to do everything they could for those who were affected. It was really surprising to see so many people, all over the city, arranging and partaking in relief efforts."

Johnson, a Delta Secondary grad, has been living in the Philippines for over a month. After finishing a psychology degree at SFU last year he moved to Germany to live with his girlfriend and "when she told me that she wanted to study a semester in the Philippines, I told her that I would come along with her to do some work and volunteering."

While searching for work Johnson said he's tried to spend as much spare time volunteering as possible.

He said he's volunteered with U! Happy Events, which organizes activities for underprivileged and disabled children, and plans on doing work with the AHON Foundation (Acts of Hope for the Nation) by "reading to children to teach them the importance of literacy."

Johnson did say that it's not in any way special or unusual here for someone to do so much volunteering.

"I know tons of students here every week doing things to help out, everything from teaching children how to do math, to privately organizing clothing and food drives for typhoon victim relief as my girlfriend Carolin has done." Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands when it hit the Philippines last month. It's been reported the typhoon now ranks the deadliest natural disaster in the country's history, killing over 5,000 people.