Mattituck Woman Skates for Typhoon-Ravaged Phillipines

A Mattituck High School graduate will travel to the Philippines to give back in a hands-on way.

Photo Credit: Katie Coe
Photo Credit: Katie Coe
One Mattituck woman has taken her passion for helping others in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and gotten the North Fork community involved.

Katie Coe, 22, who graduated Mattituck High School in 2009, has embarked on a fundraising mission with Project Leyte , organized by All Hands Volunteers.

According to the website, Project Leyte aims to focus on helping residents clear debris and salvage any materials that can be re-used. The goal is to garner funding for a home repair program that involves supplying materials, labor, and volunteers.

"Ideally, funding will also be available to create a transitional shelter program (t-shelters)," the site states. "The t-shelter design incorporates indigenous materials that are erected to provide a safe, dignified living space for three to five years."

Coe will leave on Friday to spend 10 weeks in the Philippines working with Project Leyte.

To start, Coe organized a fundraising page right after Thanksgiving.

"People were so generous," she said. "Within five days, I had already raised
$2,000 by doing nothing but knowing good people."

On Saturday, Coe also organized a fundraiser at the ice rink in Greenport.

"It went so well," she said. "It was so much fun, and after the rink was paid for, we raised another $725."

As of Monday, Coe had raised $43,27. "It's incredible," she said.

Of those funds, $1,800 will cover transportation, and the rest will be donated to Project Leyte.

For Coe, giving back comes naturally.

"I've become extremely dedicated to volunteering/fundraising for different causes since Hurricane Sandy," Coe said.

After Sandy, Coe volunteered by gutting homes in Long Beach for months, and has been involved in a series of fundraisers for various causes.

"When I saw news of Typhoon Haiyan, before it even hit, I was so upset because I've seen the devastation of a much less deadly storm and I could only imagine what that thing was going to do."

Coe began watching the news intently, before, during, and after the storm, and commenced sharing information with others, as well as fundraising.

"Maybe five days after the storm hit I thought, 'Why don't I just go?'"

Having graduated from Hoftsra in May, Coe had just begun looking for career opportunities, but felt compelled to help firsthand in the Philippines first.

"Giving back is so important to me. Its basically what I focus my life on. With such a short time to live, its up to us to figure out what we feel is important; I can't think of anything better than using a little bit of my own time and energy to make someone else's life better."

Current fundraising efforts resonate with similar experiences in the past, Coe said. "People blow me away with generosity and kindness. I cry a lot, happy tears. Every time I work on a cause I just become more and more aware and appreciative. More and more, I learn how truly amazing people in the world are."


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