Who is Christine?

Christine is our part-time administrative assistant. Christine lives in Tacloban, which is one of the areas of the Philippines that was hit hardest by the recent typhoon. She is a recent college graduate who helped to pay her way through nursing school and support her family by completing projects for Denver Test Prep over the past two years.

Why does Christine need our help?

Christine’s family home was destroyed in the typhoon. Her family lost all of their possessions and they were transported to a hospital in Manila a few days ago for medical treatment. An excerpt is copied below from our email exchange over the weekend with Christine where we asked her to provide an update on the status of her family and friends:

“We are now in a hospital in Manila. We were able to leave Tacloban a few days ago. My mom didn’t want us to delay any longer because our wounds were already looking pretty bad.

As of now, we already have food because a company my mom is affiliated with gave us some canned goods when they found out about what happened to my family. But my family and I do lack clothes because we weren’t able to save any from the flood. Our house only had 1 floor so everything was washed out. We were only able to change because our neighbor who adopted us after the typhoon gave us a couple of clothes to wear. This can be of lower priority though.

I talked to a friend of mine who is still in Tacloban and I think the main things they need there are food, water and medicines. Mostly clean water though. I talked to her earlier and she said they had no choice but to drink water they took from a water pump nearby. I’m really worried because they could get sick from that. They tried asking for water from the people in charge of giving relief goods but they weren’t given any.

The only way I can think of to help them right now is for when they arrive in Manila. With your contributions, I can buy food and clean water for them that would hopefully last for a few weeks or so. If it would be enough, maybe we can also rent a place for them to stay in temporarily. I’m not yet sure of what to do. I’m stuck in the hospital right now so there’s not much I can do to help.

Please also tell your friends and family that my family and I appreciate all of their help. This would really help us a lot in starting over.


Where is Tacloban and what was the impact of the storm?

To learn more about Tacloban and the impact of the typhoon, please click on the 3 articles/videos below:
NY Times Article on Tacloban
NPR Before and After Photos
CNN: A bird’s eye view of Tacloban (video using aerial drone camera)

How will donations be used?

All donations will be sent directly to Christine and her family through PayPal to ensure that funds are received as quickly as possible. The funds will be used to help their family and others in need acquire food, clothes, medicine, and shelter.

Any additional funds received beyond the needs of Christine’s family will be donated to Doctors Without Borders to support their medical relief efforts in the region.

How can I donate?

Donations can be made by clicking the Pitch In button below.

You will be taken to a PayPal page where you can select one of the following options:
1. Use a PayPal account to make a contribution from your checking account.
2. Click “Don’t have a PayPal account?” and make a contribution using your debit or credit card.

Donations will go directly to a PayPal account under the name of Dan Koken (Founder of Denver Test Prep) and will be transferred to Christine on a daily basis.

Update From Christine and Dan (12/12/2013)


Christine has been keeping us posted on how the money has been used so far and we wanted to give everyone a quick update. A few key ways the fund has been used:

– New roof for a family that was living in their living room because it was the only room in their house with a roof.

– General funding for a classmate of Christine’s sister who lost her entire family in the flood.

– Medical treatment for Christine and her sister.

– Emergency relief packages for several families.

I have also copied two of Christine’s recent emails below that provide a bit more detail on two of the contributions.

Thanks for you help.




Hi Dan,

I just want to let you know that we’ve found another person to help with the money you’ve sent us.:)

My sister has a classmate who lost her whole family to the flood. We’ll be sending her 10,000 php or around 240 USD to cover her expenses for a couple of weeks, at least. I know it won’t be enough to remove all of the pain she has in her heart right now. But at least it’s a start.:)

Thank you so much again for helping us help other people, Dan.

God bless you, your family and your friends!


Hi Dan,

I found another friend I could help. She’s in Manila right now but her family’s in Leyte. She was here when the tragedy occurred. She’s just waiting for her salary on the end of the month so that she could go back to Tacloban and help fix their house. I offered her 5000 pesos which is around 120 USD. She mentioned that her family’s staying in their living room because that’s the only part of their house that has a roof left. I can’t even imagine the fear they’re going through when it starts raining again, especially that it’s December (-ber months is when it almost always rains in our place). They could use the money to help fund the repair of their house (building materials are really expensive there right now because business owners know that the demand is high) and also for food this Christmas. I’m thinking of giving them some additional funds if they use up all of the money for their house repair. Just so they can at least enjoy their Christmas and New Year.:)

Thank you so much to you and your friends for making all of this possible, Dan!