Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 17, 2013

Faith drives Traverse City to aid typhoon victims

TRAVERSE CITY — Bill and Deborah Shaw expect to return next week to the work they love — helping impoverished Filipinos, while capturing their stories in words and pictures.

The Shaws leave Monday for Tacloban, a coastal city devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. They'll work with Kids International Ministries to aid victims in urgent need of food, water and medical aid.

Bill said he doesn't know exactly what his role will be, but he's had a long relationship with Jeff Long, who heads up the nonprofit.

"Jeff works with desperately poor people," Bill said. "We've worked together over the years, so he knows he can can trust me."

Bill said he will likely organize the effort's logistics and financial reserves, perhaps deciding on how money donated to KIM will be spent.

"I don't know. Maybe we'll be putting a building up or tearing one down or cooking food," said Shaw, an electrical contractor.

Deborah Shaw said she'll also take pictures to serve as a "visual voice for the people." Her photos and Bill's written accounts will go on the KIM website.

"We make a great team, and it's a blessing we'll be able to do that," she said.

KIM is now flying and driving in relief supplies, including 300,000 meals and roughly 18 on-the-ground workers. Its aim is to provide shelter from six months to a year.The team also includes government social workers, who'll focus on protecting vulnerable women and youth from being coerced into the sex trafficking industry, Bill said.

The Shaws first worked for KIM in 2002 for two years, and then returned to the Philippines in 2007 to create Urban Opportunities for Change. The nonprofit publishes magazines for homeless folks to sell for survival money. They also recruited homeless men and women to play for the Homeless World Cup Team Philippines.

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