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JSerra Football Raising Money with Operation Bow Tie for Mission Trip to Philippines

JSerra Catholic High School freshman Nate Leff, who founded non-profit Operation Bow Tie just two years ago, is leading the charge to raise money with the school's football team to go on a mission trip to the Philippines. Inspired by their recent actions collecting clothes, toys, and supplies for a church in Mexico, Leff and his teammates have decided that their next endeavor will be abroad at a Filipino orphanage called Gentle Hands, where they will teach football, soccer, rugby, and even cheer to 125 children. They also plan to collect and bring supplies to the orphanage, a battered women's shelter, and an all-girls school.

Leff's family has always been involved in works of charity — from his parents' involvement with the Orange County/Inland Empire chapter of Make-a-Wish Foundation to gathering 500 lbs. of clothes, toys, and supplies for hospitals, schools, and orphanages — so it was no surprise when he came up with the idea of Operation Bow Tie: string together two $1 bills to make a bow tie and then donate them to charity. On a family trip to the Philippines in 2017, Leff raised and donated $1,800 to two orphanages, a school for children with troubled backgrounds, and a hospital.

A member of JSerra's freshman football team, Leff had no problem persuading his teammates to hop on the Operation Bow Tie bandwagon. Bow ties were made for each teammate to be worn at their annual banquet, and now that the football season is over, the boys are focused on continuing to work together as a team off the field. They hope to raise enough money over the next few months to go on their mission trip during spring break. Their fundraising efforts will include a Texas Hold 'Em Tournament, rummage sale, and car wash with donuts and coffee.

With the help of his teammates, Leff plans to make Operation Bow Tie a club at JSerra. He believes it will bring together students who want to make an immediate difference by collecting supplies (e.g., clothes, bedding, school supplies, soap) for impoverished communities in Mexico, the Philippines, and even as far as Africa.

"It takes me a minute to make a bow tie, but that minute gives someone else much more," Leff explained. "A bow tie there consists of about a hundred pesos, which can get them a good meal of rice, chicken, a drink and dessert — maybe even new flip flops and school supplies."

"I saw kids younger than me digging in the trash in the Philippines looking for food. Even at the ages of me and my teammates, we can start making a difference now."

Operation Bow Tie's goal is to raise $22,000 for the mission trip. Their GoFundMe can be found at gofundme.com/operation-bow-tie.