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Local group helping victims of Philippines typhoon

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Just nine days after one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit land crippled the Philippines, a Lowcountry group is trying to organize help.

Members of the Filipino Community Center are the taking the lead in helping the millions in need.

"The biggest thing they need is water and food. They can rebuild later with their houses," said Andrea Ashton.

Ashton has a good idea of what people of her home country need desperately.

She has been in contact with all five of her sisters who are living in the Philippines.

Ashton said, "I did hear from them two or three days ago that they're ok."

Ashton and her husband are among many members of the Filipino Community Center brainstorming ways to help.

Robert Ashton said, "We'd appreciate any help that people could send to the Philippines."

Robert Ashton visited the Philippines for the first time 3 years ago.

"It's a beautiful country and it absolutely breaks my heart to think that all this devastation and people being killed and houses being destroyed," said Ashton.

Aston and the rest of the group understand that getting aid to the country made up of thousands of islands isn't an easy task.

Ashton said, "By water and by air is the only way to get to a lot of these small provinces."

Members of the community center agreed that sending money to support groups is how they want to help. They say this way support organizations will have the funding they need to continue relief efforts.

Members are hoping for ongoing support, especially as the death toll continues to rise now topping more than 3,500.

Andrea Ashton said, "My heart goes out also to families that have lost their loved ones. It's heartbreaking."

Thousands of miles may separate Ashton from her family, but she's comforted in knowing that her willingness to help is part of an effort that stretches far beyond the Lowcountry.

Members of the Filipino Community Center say money could be donated to the Diocese of Charleston.

A memorial mass for the victims will also be held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Goose Creek Monday evening at 7.

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