Creative ways to support Japanese relief efforts
By Julia Waneka
As Twitterfeeds fill with the disappointed Tweets bluntly tagged with #shutdown referring to our government’s impending doom, it’s easy to zero-in on the human-caused problems our nation faces. It’s also easy, however, to remain focused on what we can control in life. I am a champion of the latter.
Nearly one month ago, we watched the news as residents of Japan were taken completely off-guard by a natural disaster that has since compounded itself with a menacing nuclear crisis. As the news came streaming in, I felt the weight of my bones, the limits of my reach and the reality of being connected to a global community with still so little control over life’s circumstances.
In the weeks since the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, we’ve witnessed the resilience of the Japanese culture even in the face of another 7.4 earthquake and subsequent tsunami threat. Unfortunately, we’ve also watched locally as those in power returned to squabbling over a meager 12 percent; quite the pendulum swing of perspectives. Let’s not forget that we’re all in this together.
In the face of disaster, there are truly inspiring individuals who have not lost their perspective on what matters most. They have remained true to the words of Margaret Mead, that even a few individuals can make a difference. Here are five creative ways that you can help support relief efforts in Japan:
- Sport a leather cuff: This one man shop has raised $30,000 for The American Red Cross by selling these leather bracelets inspired by Japanese fashion. If you’re interested in helping this cause, hurry to his website as this fundraiser ends April 10. Visit the Corter Leather website.
- Send socks and encouragement: Survivors of the tsunami ended up barefoot because of the need to hurry to safety. It isn’t a critical need, rather a token of comfort, acknowledging that many lost everything and small items like a warm pair of socks can go quite a long way. Jason Kelly is an American living just inland of the area most affected by the tsunami and is using his office and home as a home base for this project. For information on how you can send socks and a note of encouragement visit SocksForJapan.com
- Drink Sake: Yes. Drink up. Blogger, Blake Grey, encouraged wine lovers and restaurateurs to switch to Sake on March 25 (which has since passed) in solidarity with Japanese sake makers. It is a small and simple way to support the Japanese exports economy, which has undoubtedly taken a few blows in this time of crisis.
- Wear your heart on your tee: Anna Sui is selling men’s and women’s tees for $20 each to support Japanese relief efforts. The tees displaying a large heart and the words “JAPAN. We’re all in this together.” begin shipping April 15.
- Support existing organized efforts: There are armies of men and women who work with the great organizations of the Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors without Borders. There is strength in numbers and every bit of effort counts.