For Relief

By now, I’m sure the entire anime-watching world is intimately familiar with the natural disasters that occurred recently in the land of the rising sun. Between the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear reactor scares, Japan has shown nothing but stoic bravery and some of the finest examples of humanity in the face of disaster.

But Thursday morning at 10:32 AM EST, (11:32 PM local Japanese time) Japan was hit with another earthquake. The quake measured 7.4 on the Richter scale (though the US Geological Survey is reporting the quake measured 7.1) and affected the eastern coast of Honshu. NPR’s Greg Dixon reported that the shaking lasted for 2 minutes. Japan’s meteorological society issued a tsunami warning, the worst predictions being for the Miyagi prefecture, though also includes the Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures. The warnings were lifted just a few hours later without incident.

Thankfully, the workers at the Fukushima Dai-Iichi nuclear plants have reported there are no new problems at any of the six reactors at that plant.

On March 15, George Takei said via Twitter, “In this crisis, we are all Japanese.” I, for one, truly feel this way and my heart goes out to all the families still struggling overseas. Japan still needs our help, and for all the wonderful times that country has given us through video games and anime, we should be the first to offer whatever help we can and the last to put the relief effort behind us.

In that vein, the following are ways that you can help the relief efforts in Japan.

The Red Cross is still accepting donations to help the relief effort directly.  A donation from the Red Cross must be a minimum of $10, but can be done via any major credit card (including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express).

The Save the Children organization is also accepting donations that will be used to help the children facing this disaster.  Donations can be made in any amount here, so don’t be freaked out by the options listed.

UNICEF is also currently accepting donations in any amount.

A group called Your Action is keeping a list of running charity events for the Japanese relief projects in the New York area.  If you’re in the tri-state area there, consider attending one of the benefits or concerts listed there.  Your Action also lists a number of items that can be purchased to help support the relief effort.

Gwen Stefani is sponsoring a fundraiser in which you have the option to purchase a T-shirt for $40 and then add on extra donations to the relief effort should you so choose.  100% of the net profits from this fundraiser are being donated to the relief efforts via the Red Cross.

Hope – Japan is a nonprofit group of artists working to help Japanese victims of the earthquakes and tsunamis as well as those suffering from radiation sickness.  Each of the 36 artists has designed a pin.  If the $40 price point for the Gwen Stefani tee is too rich for your blood, these wonderful pins are only $3 a pop, and 100% of the proceeds are being used to support the relief efforts.

Linkin Park, in conjunction with Download to Donate has created two t-shirt designs to support the relief effort.  These t-shirts available in either men’s or women’s cuts are $25 each and offer 100% of the net profits to disaster relief.

A quick search on the iTunes store will lead you to “Songs for Japan,” a digital album of 38 chart-toppers including artists such as Josh Groban, Katy Perry, U2, Bruno Mars, and Lady Antebellum.  For $9.99, the proceeds will help aid the Japanese Red Cross in their struggle to rebuild.

Remember that when donating directly to any of these organizations, you are doing a huge amount of good.  Any amount of money can help feed a hungry child for another day or get some much-needed medications over to the elderly.  $10 is nothing when you think about it.  Just going without Starbucks for a week would give you more than enough spare funds to donate.

And, to be honest, when people are suffering so deeply in this nation we owe so much to, I think we could all go a week without coffee.

If anyone else has places people can go to donate funds or support the relief efforts in any other way, please leave them in the comments section.

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