Dan Douglass has put together a fantastic list of smaller (= more value for your donations) charities that are working up in Tohoku.
Trying to decide where to give?
I’ve been looking into charity groups with an eye towards smaller organizations with low administrative expenses and experience with relief efforts, as well as an established presence and connections in Japan. Both Second Harvest and Peace Boat seem like solid choices and accept financial donations by paypal.
Second Harvest has been around since 2000 and currently is providing over a million meals to 200,000 needy people in Japan every year. They have regular supply lines from companies that donate large amounts of food that is, for various reasons unsellable but safe and nutritious. This food would otherwise go to waste but is instead a valuable resource for orphanages and retirement homes for the poor. Since the earthquake and tsunami they have set up a disaster relief office in Sendai and are sending 2 large 4-ton trucks full of food and other supplies every other day. They estimate that for every 1,000 yen donated they are able to deliver 10,000 yen worth of food.
Many of us have probably heard of the Japan based Peace Boat which in addition to being “a floating university of sorts” also works to build connections between different peace and human rights groups around the world. Kyoto locals Jen Teeter and Taka Okazaki are former employees of Peace Boat and say the organization makes efficient use of the donations it receives and is very trustworthy. They have experience providing humanitarian aid both domestically during the Hanshin earthquake and abroad in places such as Haiti and New Orleans to name just a few. They are currently organizing donations in Tokyo and sending truck loads of supplies and fairly large groups of volunteers to Miyagi on a regular basis to provide food and care in evacuation centers
You can follow their relief efforts on this facebook page.
For those of us thinking about choosing a larger organization it might be possible to request that any donations given be earmarked for the earthquake relief effort. Apparently the American Red Cross will do this and if not specified might use the money for some other humanitarian cause.
Montbell shops in Kyoto and possibly in other cities as well are still accepting tents and sleeping bags in addition to food, clothing and diapers.
It’s hard to think of anyone camping in this cold but with more than 400,000 displaced people and the large number of relief workers who are already there or on their way, I imagine that any camping gear they get will be put to good use. It’s hard to grasp the number of people involved and even more so in a developed country like Japan. Apparently even the priciest of hotel rooms in Kyoto and Osaka hotels are fully booked and real estate agents are reporting increases in regular rentals and this is of course only the people fortunate enough to be able to afford relocation.
Thank you, Dan!