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Tohoku Disaster [How can I help?]

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I think everyone that reads and contributes to Chowhound is by now aware of what has happened in the Tohoku region (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Aomori prefectures). My question is, what can we do to help? I am awaiting word from friends who have family in areas that were hard hit to see if there is anything that can be done to help. Maybe other Chowhound followers have other leads as to where people can help. This may be straying a bit from the normal boundaries of discussion. But I think this i a good way for some expats and other readers to get involved.

My first thought is to buy, eat and drink Tohoku products. And then to go up and assist. Any other ideas?

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  1. As in any disaster, a good way to help out is to give blood. Foreign residents should be able to give blood, aside from those who are ineligible due to things like travel, recent tattoos/piercings, and that kind of thing.

    Hope all the Japan chowhounds are okay.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Japanecdote

      If you're in Japan, another way to help is to send food and supplies to Japan's Second Harvest. Here's the link explaining what they need and where to send it:

    2. We edited the title of this post to reflect the general tenor of the discussion about how to help in this situation. We won't be removing non-food focused replies, but we hope people will mention food-focused ways or ways hounds in particular can help since that's ground that won't necessarily be covered elsewhere.

      1. The Red Cross is doing a lot to help survivors. They are working with the Japanese Red Cross to take humanitarian aid to the area. So, if you feel inclined to help, a monetary donation to the Red Cross (be sure to designate) will be helpful.

        1. Right now, big donations to entities that directly help people are the way to go I think. Eating Tohoku food is a good idea and one to keep up in the long term; however, right now something much more immediate and less trickle-dwon would probably be better - giving money to the Red Cross etc.

          1. Can't we persuade some of our favorite restaurants to contribute % of sales to donate to one of many Tohoku disaster funds? Then, list them at Chowhound to recommend! Me & my friends are trying to visit some Japanese restaurants in NYC area to do so. (We're also planning to ask them to place 'donation box' for clients.)
            Btw. the places that you can donate online are as follows (seriously... 'eat' oriented site like Chowhound should fig out something if possible!);

            Global Giving
            Japan Society
            iTunes store
            and a more

            1. As one who's been treated to fresh tofu fresh dashi
              and nestled in incubus of Hakata Ramen
              there is real feel of physical pain.

              Shared in their homeland for almost three years
              and things that I learned from them are deeply endeared,
              most about ways they treat people.

              The crisis right now is about rice and water
              and kerosene that they can cook it with.

              Primary pump is the gift of straight money.
              Anyone on these boards can find the ways how.

              2 Replies
              1. re: FoodFuser

                I've been reading that money is not necessarily what's need right now. In fact, according to the NYT the Japanese Red Cross is asking donors not to earmark funds for Japan, but if you want to contribute to the Red Cross in general that is good. They seem to be requesting only specific technical assistance right now.

                We have given all our toddler's gently used clothes and any new, unworn and in the package adult undergarments as well as our blankets to our local church here in Tokyo as I suspect some immediate things like that will be helpful. Otherwise we are waiting a bit to hear what is actually requested.

                For those of us further from the site maybe we can do what we can locally. I think supporting local business anywhere you are in Japan as suggested above is a great idea as the whole country's economy is taking a hit and I'm sure any patronage anywhere is greatly appreciated.


                1. re: tokyopix

                  If anyone in the Tokyo area is interested, there is a food drive being coordinated by Allied Pickfords Japan, SIRVA Relocation and Second Harvest and the Tokyo American Club. Below are the details:

                  "Dear Fellow Members,

                  The Club is holding a food drive to support the humanitarian efforts under way for those affected worst by the devastating March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis.

                  The food drive will take place between the hours of 10:00 – 15:00 on March 22, 23 & 24. Donations should be dropped off on the B1 family side. Volunteers will assist in moving them to the collection location in the Women’s Group classroom, “Gordon Suite” (adjacent to the B1 Member Services Desk).

                  Food items most needed are rice, miso, nori, canned foods (vegetables, fruit, fish & meat) and noodles (soba, udon, ramen, spaghetti). The items must be undamaged, non-perishable and with ample time remaining on the expiry date.

                  Non-members may also donate food items. Non-members should advise the staff of their purpose at the main entrance gate, and then proceed down the ramp to the B1 family side where they drop off their donations and then exit the club via the same ramp.

                  The food drive is being held in cooperation with Allied Pickfords Japan, SIRVA Relocation and Second Harvest, who are providing transportation, logistics and distribution.

                  Thank you in advance for your contribution.

                  Great East Japan Earthquake Campaign Task Force
                  Tokyo American Club"