Lion Brand Notebook

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How to Help Japan

March 21st, 2011

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In response to the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan, many crafters have asked us how they can help. As crocheters and knitters, it is our natural inclination to want to donate handmade goods. However, I want to encourage you not to try to donate your goods directly to Japan at this time. As pointed out by this article, the country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged, making it virtually impossible to ship donations and have them distributed.

The most important way you can help right now is through monetary donations. If you still want to support relief efforts with crafting, consider raffling or selling your goods and donating the proceeds. There are so many fantastic organizations currently accepting donations. Here are just a few of them:

  • The American Red Cross is assisting the Japanese Red Cross Society. Click here to donate to the cause on their website, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.
  • Save the Children is operating the first child-friendly space in an evacuation center. You can support their efforts by donating here.
  • AmeriCares is working to provide life-saving medical care and supplies to the region. You can submit your donation here.

In addition, the group Handmade for Japan will be auctioning handmade goods on eBay from March 24th-27th. Started by Japanese-American ceramic artist Ayumi Horie, the auction will donate 100% of proceeds to Global Giving. You can check out the auction here on March 24th, and you can view more details about the project here.

  • FlagGazer

    Here is a list of charities active in Japan with high ratings from charity watchdog groups: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1221

  • Clare W of ACU4J

    There is also the project which Sarah Rene (US) and I (UK) started which is International and still open for contributions:
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ACU4J
    Website: http://artsandcraftsunitedforjapan.wordpress.com/

    We welcome quality contributions from anywhere in the world. Postage reimbursed for contributing crafters. 100% of bids go to Global Giving.

    Come and join us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6RAYQGJKMLSONRCYVMO57FKRBU Patty

    ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency), who’s volunteers are always first on had in any disaster, are taking donations (as always) to help in Japan. 100% goes to help the efforts in Japan. Click here for more info and to donate:
    http://www.adra.org/site/PageNavigator/work/what/responding_to_emergencies/need_appeal_march11_japan_devastation.html

  • Cebulady2003

    It’s always a good idea to check around before you give so you can give wisely!

    As an example – according to some research that a trusted friend of mine did – that the top leaders of the Red Cross are making 6-figures annually! So…who’s actually getting the “relief?” I remember hearing from a WW2 veteran about how the Red Cross actually CHARGED the soldiers for coffee on the front lines in some areas!

    Better to get on board with a church or an organization at a local level whom you trust that has international connections and can VERIFY that the aid/funds have really arrived at their intended destination!

    Great to want to help, but always best to be cautious so your help actually…helps!

    • Clare W of ACU4J

      There are always detractors of all charities and there are also problems with embezzlement when trusting individuals too (including churches). When people organise events try to help they want to take away the potential perceived risk for the giver. Attaching one’s event to large organisations and using their infrastructure, especially online, achieves that and people feel safer about where their money is going.

      American Red Cross is not an organisation that I know much about but considering what they do, is it really outrageous to pay the top bosses a high wage? I’m organising one event once (Arts & Crafts United for Japan) and it is a HUGE amount of work and we don’t even have to do anything once the money has been raised, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund will do that.

      I think it is admirable to question but misguided to slam big charities wholesale. They are doing a tremendous job that wouldn’t be done without them and the people that work to make that happen, work HARD. Six figures evokes the impression that people are being paid a million pounds/dollars – but if you say £100K instead of six figures it becomes a very different ball game. They SHOULD get six figures. They aren’t doing it in their spare time as a hobby, they are running a multi-national aid organisation which does a brilliant job of helping and saving lives. The local church will not achieve what they achieve.

      Most individual or group endeavours (like ACU4J) are attached to a larger charity which gets the money used appropriately and the needed items delivered. There is no post to Japan at the moment – only big aid companies with established practices can GET anything there.

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