Tohoku Disaster [How can I help?]
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!);
and a more