Monday, March 21, 2011

For Japan

I wanted to round up a list of creative ways you could help the earthquake/tsunami victims of Japan and spotlight artists, shops and bloggers who are using their work to raise funds for disaster relief.

But then I started going through photos of the aftermath and watching footage of the tsunami devastating everything in its path. See, up until now I've mostly shielded myself from watching any of it. Sure I read the news online and know about the natural and now nuclear crises Japan has had to deal with in the last week, but there was just no way I could wrap my head around how massively bad it really is. Watching the tides crashing in and sweeping away whole houses like driftwood at sea is beyond terrifying.

And then my original idea seemed so...frivolous. Who needs to buy posters and crafts to give what they can to those suffering overseas? Why not cut out the middle chunk - complete with marketing ploys and shipping and handling fees - from the equation and just donate the money without acquiring more stuff? Or perhaps it's to entice those who wouldn't contribute without being rewarded in turn? Maybe the thought of providing food, medicine and emotional support to the hundreds of thousands currently crammed in evacuation centers isn't as comforting as say, lavender sachets?

But maybe that's just what it takes for some of us, right? Below, a list of organizations providing relief and recovery in the area without sending you any goodies in return:

- American Red Cross
- Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund
- Save the Children
- UNICEF
- Doctors Without Borders
- ShelterBox

It should be noted that some of these groups (namely the last three) will not earmark your donation solely for the recovery efforts in Japan, which means your money will go wherever it's needed most. The only good to come of what happened in Japan is the fact that they had a solid infrastructure and emergency response plan in place unlike Haiti. Still, help is on their way, but if donations exceed the needs of the country, funds will be directed to another place where it will still do a lot of good.

Image: navy.mil via reddit.com

3 comments:

  1. You make such a good point. I mean, sure we could buy books or paintings or concert tickets where a portion of the proceeds are being donated, but it's so much more gratifying to give straight to the source.

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  2. That's the trouble with people these days... They'll so rarely give anything - be it time, money, or whatever - if they wont get something in return!

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  3. The devastation and the continuing saga with the ruined nuclear plants is mind boggling, numbing, and in turn, horrifying.

    The only "silverlining" in this mess is that the people of Japan seem determined to remake their country as quickly and completely as they can.

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