Since the earthquake hit, I've been thinking of things we can do collectively, not just as a fandom but as an entire community of people, to help. Things like fandom auctions and things are great, but they only supply monetary support.
Being from Florida, I'm no stranger to disaster relief or disaster preparedness. Weeks without power can put a strain on anyone. Being unable to buy the necessary toiletries or find a blanket or clothing that isn't wet and ruined can be almost impossible. Monetary donations go to help transport and supply the food and medical necessaries for the rescuers to be able to do their jobs.
I've done something like this before, back with my girl scout troop in 1995, ironically enough for the Kobe Disaster Relief. I'd like to keep it going for this as well, but on a much broader scale.
This is what I'm asking of you, if you can. There is no need to buy anything if you don't wish to, you may be able to do this with things already on hand!
Take a shoe box or a gallon zip loc bag and fill it with any or all of the following items:
- Travel-size, unused/unopened soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, and other toiletries.
- Unused/unopened razors and toothbrushes.
- Travel-sized unused/unopened deodorants.
- Small combs, brushes, hair ties, etc.
- Tissues, travel-sized toilet paper, wet wipes/baby wipes.
- Hot-hands hot packs (the little ones you activate by shaking - most areas are still very cold.)
- All sizes of new batteries.
- Knit hats and gloves - on clearance at WalMart in most areas!
- Basic school supplies.
- Small toys
- Any and all first aid items you can think of.
Along with these items, if you would, please write a little note or card giving encouragement to the people who will be receiving these items. This can be in English or Japanese, don't worry about having to have to translate it if you don't feel comfortable. Even a "we're thinking about you!" can be understood. Anything else appropriate you'd like to include in the bag/box, please go ahead and do so. No perishable food items or glass, please! We'd like these things to arrive intact. Sealed products are best, but I understand some of these items do not come originally sealed.
If you have any new or gently used stuffed animals or children's clothing, please send it along as well. Adult clothing and larger items will be difficult to transport, but these smaller items should have no problems.
I will collect these items and send them to a contact in Japan, who will make sure they get to the correct distribution areas and get to people in need. I will take care of the shipping costs myself.
Please send all items to the address below:
We Can Make It! Disaster Relief Project
C/O Andrea Stanley
1009 San Remo Drive
Largo, FL 33770
This is not limited to the Arashi Fandom, so please, let your friends and family know and let them know what they can do. I hope to send out a large box by the end of next week at the latest with a bunch of supplies.
Edit: There's been some concern expressed regarding the sending of supplies over there and that it's not needed and not logistical. If something does happen and it's impossible to get the items where they are needed, would you all be comfortable with the letters going and the boxes going to local charities around me?
The biggest reasoning for this is there are a lot of younger people in fandom really just don't have the means of donating money, no matter what, but this is something they can do.
For those of you who would prefer to donate monetarily, please donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross here through Google.
Second Harvest Japan is accepting supply donations! I will be sending the items here, so if you'd like to add some of the food items on their list, feel free to! Please try to keep the packages fairly light, though.
Second Harvest's Request:
* Allergen-free food, food for infants, food for the elderly who need nursing care, food for diabetics;
* Snacks (this would help people psychologically a lot);
* Daily necessities such as
portable gas stoves(too dangerous to ship), batteries, flash lights;
* Diapers for children and the elderly;
* menstrual pads, portable toilets, wet wipes, sanitizers;
* Pet food and pet toilets!!!!! (As a pet owner, this would be fantastic to see going over there to help!)
It's been expressed that in-kind donations are not needed right now. From above though, it's obvious that they are and this is the charity I will be sending them to. Second Harvest does a lot of great work around the world and even in your local communities.
I've also been asked if there is a deadline for this - no! Keep sending until I say otherwise. It's going to take months, if not years, for these areas to rebuilt and return to a somewhat normal life.