Support the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund

It’s been more than a month since an earthquake and tsunami left the northeast Japanese port city of Sendai stricken and the rest of the country scrambling to provide relief and quell a growing nuclear crisis. But thousands of miles away, many Americans can feel the aftershocks of the devastation. Enter: the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund in Boston. In collaboration with the Japan Society of Boston, the Fish Family Foundation, and the Boston Foundation, the fund has made it their mission to provide monetary aid to organizations and communities in Tohoku through direct-impact grants. This unique collaboration of three non-profit organizations is what makes the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund different from other relief funds.

Why Boston? Atsuko Toko Fish, Co-Founder of the Fund, says, “The connections between Boston and Japan are many and deep. This fund is created to offer an opportunity for those who wish to help the Japanese people at a time of great distress.” In fact, Boston became Kyoto's sister city in 1959, creating a special relationship between the Japanese community in Boston and those in Japan. Recently, Ting San, chef and owner of Oishii Boston, raised more than $45,000 from an event he hosted with other chefs and food-industry vendors.

Moreover, the fund has had an overwhelming response from the Boston youth community. Kozue Sawame, committee member of the fund, says, “There are so many ways to get involved. The fund recently met an amazing teen supporter who is leading a very successful fundraiser.” Lanie Schwartz, a 7th grader at Derby Academy in Hingham, designed T-shirts to sell for fundraising.

Sawame says, “[Lanie] is a perfect example of all the good in a big heart, a conscientious mind, and some hard work can do. Atusko Fish brought these T-shirts to Japan when she visited the evacuee shelters in Miyagi and Fukushima. To the evacuees, the T-shirts were an amazing warm message of hope.”

It’s not too late to help; teenage girls across the country can still do their part to help provide relief to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Sawame, who is also Board of Director for Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE) encourages Mochi readers to take part in this great effort. To donate to the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund, visit http://www.japanesedisasterrelieffund.org and follow their updates on http://twitter.com/#!/jdrfb.