It's in the mail

Grandma 'Survivor' and 'Woo' fan counting the cash

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“Whoa!” exclaims Shirley Ellis, of Coeur d’Alene, after opening an envelope from Los Angeles containing a check in the amount of $150 on Monday. Ellis, a “Survivor” fan, is leading up an effort to collect money for Yung "Woo" Hwang, the runner-up in the latest season of the reality TV show.

COEUR d'ALENE - Shirley Ellis ripped open one of the nine letters she pulled out of her extra-large Hayden post office box on Monday.

"Two dollars," she said, giving the crisp bills a quick smooch. "Two fresh ones."

Ellis, for those who haven't heard, is the 78-year-old Coeur d'Alene grandma who is trying to raise a million dollars for "Survivor: Cagayan" runner-up Yung "Woo" Hwang. Ellis believes Woo should have won for his honest style of play in an otherwise cutthroat game, but he just missed out on the $1 million prize.

She has opened a bank account, deposited the first $50 and paid for the post office box for several months.

Ellis is asking that other big Woo fans give a dollar.

She has received nearly 20 letters containing at least a buck in the past week. The haul was $47 last week, and on Monday she opened up mail with another $196.

Some of the letters are speaking Ellis' language.

"Lord knows kids today need some decent role models," one letter writer wrote.

Some letters appeared to have messages for Woo directly.

"Thank you for showing such character on 'Survivor' - wish you the best," another person wrote on a check.

Letters have come in from North Idaho and places like Washington, D.C., and southern California.

If the letters start rolling in too fast - she's OK with the current pace - Ellis plans to enlist some volunteers from her church to help handle the flow of money.

"It's not about (Woo) deserving it," Ellis said Monday. "It's about letting the kids and young people know that it's not OK to lie, cheat, steal and manipulate to make money."

Interested in giving to Woo? Here's where to mail cash and checks: Ellis, P.O. Box 2350, Hayden, ID, 83835.

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