(KRON) — Back in April, heavy rains and landslides killed at least 25 people in the central and southern Philippines, according to The Associated Press. Among the places affected was Baybay City in the Leyte province.
That’s where the late great-grandmother of Vikings safety Camryn Bynum is from. Bynum, who is of Filipino descent, is now leading an outreach to help victims that were affected by the typhoon, including nearly 200 floods, that displaced approximately 30,000 families.
Bynum starred in football at Cal and has family from the Bay Area. He said he and his family will be in Leyte on June 17 for the outreach. He is currently raising funds to help with disaster response, rehabilitation, and future disaster preparation — adding a $10,000 donation of his own.
At least 20 storms and typhoons occur in the Philippines each year. Usually, it starts during the rainy season beginning in June, according to The Associated Press.
“Our main goal is to reach out, react to all the destruction and be able to rebuild — whether it’s mentally, physically, or spiritually,” Bynum told KRON4. “Just going out and talking to them: all the victims. And asking how they’re doing. A lot of people when they go and give out the resources; that’s one thing. We want to do more than that.”
Bynum plans to be in the Philippines for three weeks in total. He will also be in other parts of the Philippines working out of a food truck to feed locals.
“I want to continue to raise awareness and support in the future because typhoons aren’t just a one-time thing,” Bynum said. “This outreach is going to be the first of many we will do in the Philippines.”
Giving Back To His People
Bynum said he has never been to the Philippines but still has “a lot” of family in the country. His great-grandmother grew up in Baybay City.
When he lands in Cebu, Philippines around Saturday evening, Bynum plans to have multiple family gatherings while they’re in the area. That’ll happen before they head to Baybay City, which is about a 7-hour flight from Cebu.
Since getting drafted in the NFL in 2021, Bynum has not shied away from representing his Filipino heritage.
“It means so much to me to be able to be able to represent my Filipino culture in the NFL,” Bynum said. “It’s pretty rare for us to be football players. I feel really blessed to be one of the few (Filipinos who) are playing football, and doing well, and still in touch with my culture.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.