Japan Relief Efforts: A Local Roundup


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Local businesses, charities, agencies, private individuals, and others have organized programs to send much-needed donations to Japan.

Here's a roundup showing how you can help them out — by donating cash, buying handcrafted hats and avant-garde hedge-clippers, sipping delicious cocktails, and/or doing any number of meaningful things.


Oakland restaurant Ozumo will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of its specialty cocktail Kibou No Hana (“flower of hope”) to the American Red Cross through the month of March. The cocktail is served all day at Ozumo's gloriously beautiful bar.


A benefit rummage sale and bazaar is happening today (Saturday, March 19) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2599 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley. For sale in the roomy indoor space will be vintage collectibles, secondhand housewares and wearables, furniture, onigiri rice balls, home-baked sweets, handcrafted hats, silkscreened shirts, kimono-fabric bags, Japanese ceramics, and more. All proceeds will be donated to the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco.

Its organizers are Yukiko Smith, Momoca Begovic, and Masami Clahan.

"We are all Japanese," said Begovic, a hat designer whose specially discounted creations will be offered at the bazaar. "We all have family and friends in Japan. we are doing what we can to help our country."


Samin Nosrat of the Pop-Up General Store is organizing a multi-location "Bakesale for Japan" on April 2 with the help of several local businesses, including Gioia Pizzeria, Chez Panisse, BiRite Market & Creamery, Pizzaiolo,Tartine Bakery, and Summer Kitchen Bake Shop. At his website, Nosrat welcomes participants, explaining:

"You DO NOT have to be a professional cook/baker to participate! If you are donating goods from a certified/licensed food business, you are welcome to label the goods with your logo/identity if you wish. Individually wrapped treats,packaged dozens and half-dozens, as well as whole cakes/pies/tarts/loaves etc. are preferred (rather than a basket of cookies meant to be sold one by one). Bake as much as you like! The more stuff we have to sell, the better!We literally cannot have too many baked goods.

"Gluten-free/ dairy-free/ vegan items are welcome and should be clearly labeled as such. All items must be delivered with a complete list of ingredients, as well as an item name. Please plan to deliver your goods in containers you will not need returned. If you'd like to donate a non-food item, such as artwork, a gift certificate, etc., please email me with specifics.

"I will also need quite a few volunteers to help organize, collect, and distribute baked goods, as well as work the sales, so if you're not into baking, let me know if you want to help in this way. Japanese specialties such as mochi and other delicacies are more than welcome. We sell everything by suggested donation, so the more delicious/special the items, and the nicer the packaging/presentation, the more money we can get!"


Other eateries are stepping up to the plate ... with full plates.

Oakland's BayWolf is serving a special dinner on Sunday, March 20 with proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross. The restaurant's website tells us:

"A member of our BayWolf family, former manager and maitre’d extraordinaire Chris Keyes, recently married and settled in Kobe, Japan with his new wife and infant daughter. He and his family were in our immediate thoughts after learning of the severe devastation in Japan. The Keyes family is currently out of harm’s way, but for them and millions of others living in Japan, life will never be the same."


On Monday, March 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Berkeley's PIQ is hosting a Japan relief donation night in collaboration with Red Cross @ CAL, Red Cross USA, and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association of Northern California. All individual donations and all sales from that evening will be pooled together into the PIQ Japan Relief Donation Fund. Half of that will go to the Red Cross, which will then distribute it to the Japan Red Cross. The other half will go to the JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.


San Francisco restaurants Ebisu and Hotei will donate 10 percent of this week's proceeds to quake relief. And ten percent of this week's sales at popular SF food truck JapaCurry will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.


Berkeley's United Methodist Church is collecting donations for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Online, click here and give the UMCOR Advance Number, 3021317. Or donate with your credit card at 800-554-8583. One hundred percent of all donations will go directly to providing emergency assistance, according to BUMC's website. Along with other churches nationwide, BUMC is hosting a One Great Hour of Sharing event to gather charitable donations on April 3; proceeds underwrite UMCOR's operating expenses and expands emergency aid.


The Jewish Federation for Disaster Relief is accepting tax-free donations here.


San Francisco-based law firm Minami Tamaki LLP and nonprofit Inspirational Opportunities for Youth and Seniors (IOYS) are working together to raise $50,000 by the end of April for Japanese disaster relief. MT's website explains:

"100 percent of the proceeds raised will go towards citizen relief efforts in the most affected areas via the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund established by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. We are reaching out to you — our family, friends and colleagues. Minami Tamaki and IOYS ask that you help us raise $50,000 to help the citizens of Japan. Please reach into your pocket book and make a donation. No amount is too small.

"To encourage your support through this campaign, Minami Tamaki and IOYS pledge to match 50 percent of your donation up to a combined $10,000."

To help them, click here.


The Gardener — a purveyor of gardening tools, accessories, and gifts — will donate 10 percent of today's (Saturday, March 19) sales at all three of its locations (Berkeley, San Francisco, and Healdsburg) to Japan earthquake relief.


The Red Cross is accepting money to fund disaster relief in Japan. Donate online here, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


  • Give.

In its Tokyo headquarters, the Salvation Army is housing and feeding people who have been unable to return home. Help SA help them by calling (800) SAL-ARMY; donate online here. Please specify that your donation is meant for Japan disaster relief.


The nonprofit Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco has established the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Donate online here, or call 415-567-5505.


San Francisco-based philanthropic group Give2Asia — which was founded ten years ago and has a strong track record of giving — has established the JPRI Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund and the Nueva School Children Japanese Relief Fund. Give2Asia's website says:

"Give2Asia has identified several local Japanese organizations that are responding to the disaster, such as Second Harvest Japan, Japanese Emergency NGOs (JEN), Saigai Volunteer Katsudo Shien Project Kaigi, Shanti Volunteer Association, Rescue Stock Yard, and Niigata Saigai (Disaster Volunteer Network). These organizations have the knowledge and relationships to provide appropriate assistance that respects and involves the survivors. We are working with these organizations to obtain more information about their relief operations and how Give2Asia can help.

"Because conditions and needs change rapidly in a post-disaster situation, Give2Asia strikes a balance that is flexible while also ensuring transparency and accountability as to how funds are used. In addition to the groups listed above, Give2Asia continues to network with partners in Japan to stay abreast of evolving needs and opportunities. Please continue to check this page for more information on specific projects being funded in response to this disaster."

Click here to help.


Save the Children is accepting donations here.


Organizing rescue efforts for Japanese pets, Humane Society International is accepting donations here.


Oakland-based Fair Trade USA has partnered with Seattle-based coffee roaster Grounds for Change to offer Fair Trade Certified Japan Relief Blend coffee. A portion of the proceeds from each bag sold will go toward Mercy Corps, an Oregon-based relief organization.


And now to toot our own horn: The East Bay Express is doing its part for Japan disaster relief as well. Yesterday, ads began appearing in alternative newsweeklies across North America urging readers to help with fundraising efforts.

Hear about any other local relief efforts? Let us know in the comments.


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