After over a year of volunteering and relief efforts with support from people all around the world, volunteerAKITA, under the outstanding leadership and direction of Paul and Minami, is pleased to welcome two new directors, Jon and KK. They hope to drive volunteerAKITA to the next level building upon the ideas and foundations achieved by Paul and Minami. Jon has been working in the background for volunteerAKITA, responsible for the website and media logistics. KK joined immediately after beginning work in Japan and has not stopped in her endeavors to make volunteerAKITA even greater. Under their direction, volunteerAKITA will continue to provide both volunteer opportunities and donations to affected areas of the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 as well as creating new projects to foster greater internationalism between Japan and the world. All of us at volunteerAKITA would like to thank Paul and Minami for setting the right tone and energy when starting volunteerAKITA and for the absolutely amazing things they have done for anyone affected by the disasters. We wish them the very best, and hope that their new adventures are the most fantastic yet.
Now a word from the two new directors, Jon and KK.
From the beginning volunteerAKITA has seen an amazing amount of support, volunteering and donations from the people in Akita and also from people living around the world. With the conclusion of the Fruit Tree Project and non-specialized volunteer opportunities dwindling, volunteerAKITA looked to provided a scholarship to an orphan living in Sendai, Japan. With the generous donations from people around the world, we successfully raised enough money to support this orphan in going to university. Again, to everyone who has helped us thus far, we send to you a heart-felt and greatly deserved thank you!
Now, volunteerAKITA is pleased to announce its newest project for the future. The first is to create a permanent scholarship fund for orphans in Tohoku wishing to attend university. The scholarship would be of varying amounts from as low as ￥100,000 with the potential for renewal of the scholarship upon successful completion of the previous academic year. We will be looking to reach out to more orphanages in the Tohoku area to spread the word of a bursary they can apply for. Look for our proposal in the near future.
VolunteerAKITA was born from the desire to “get out and volunteer”. In order to continue these goals our second project is to establish a routine, monthly visitation opportunity to orphanages in Akita. We, along with other JETs in Akita, spent a fantastic morning making crafts and capes for a dozen children at an orphanage in early July. The director’s eyes sparkled when we asked if we could come again and happily suggested that maybe next time we could sing English songs. More detailed information about the date of the next visit will be made shortly.
Again, thank you to everyone who has helped volunteerAKITA thus far and we look forward to all our opportunities together in the future!
- Jon and KK
October 15, 2011 – The Save Minamisoma Project has been delivering supplies to folks in Fukushima-ken who are still recovering from the tsunami as well as radiation threats. They have been working tirelessly to deliver supplies to the temporary housing units, and volunteerAKITA/The Fruit Tree Project is very happy to offer our support, and hope to continue working with them in the future.
For their last delivery, The Fruit Tree Project was able to purchase 1980 persimmons which were distributed to 4 different temporary housing neighborhoods! A BIG OTSUKARE to all the members of their team, and for all the hard work they continue to put into their mission. Please check them out at http://saveminamisoma.web.fc2.com and see a brief report from Michael Anop of the Save Minamisoma Project.
September 5, 2011 – A long but awesome day down in Ishinomaki with the Anderson family! It was so nice to finally meet them in person, and we are so glad they could come around with us today to see what The Fruit Tree Project is all about. We started loading fruit at about 9a.m. from Moriya Fruits, then started making our rounds to the shelters in the Ishinomaki area.
The shelter numbers have dropped significantly since we were last down there, but there are still so many people who haven’t made it out yet. As we approach the 6 month mark since the disaster, it really hits you hard to see the many people still living in shelters and uncertain about their future. We just really hope people in Japan and all over the world don’t forget about these people, and continue to help them get back on their feet.
It was definitely a long/busy day, but it felt so great to be back out in Ishinomaki, especially with the Andersons and Kat. We got to chat with so many people along the way, and also got to play with some kids in the afternoon, which is always fun! In total we delivered ~1,233 items of fruit to 16 shelters! Another BIG THANKS to the Andersons for everything they are doing for Japan right now, and for all the love and support they have given us! Also to the lovely Kat Sheu for everything she has done in the relief efforts, as well as volunteerAKITA. We will definitely miss her and wish her the best in the future!
All in all, it was a great day! We accomplished so much, and we definitely reached out to a lot of people, which is what’s most important.
September 6, 2011 – Yesterday was a bit hectic, so we were not able to deliver to Hirobuchi ES (a small shelter outside of central Ishinomaki). After an amazing reception/ceremony for Taylor’s Reading Corners, I stopped by Hirobuchi on the way back to Akita with enough fruit to last them through the week (2 huge watermelons, 150 mikans, and 48 pears!) The folks there are the sweetest people ever, and are always very grateful for our visits. We hope to get back there soon.
- Paul & Minami
While the summer months have been busy for us here in Akita, we have continued to get fruit out as much as possible, and are still collecting donations for The Fruit Tree Project! A BIG BIG BIG THANK YOU to JAPA DOG for their very generous donation and support! If you live in the Vancouver area, please do us a favor and stop by your local JAPA DOG for some tasty gourmet hot dogs (YUM)! www.japadog.com
To date, we have raised ￥1,811,671 ($23,571) and delivered ~38,612items of fruit! We also want to thank ALL of our supporters because none of this would be possible without your support and trust in our project and organization. It really means the world to us, and with your support we have reached out and helped so many people in Tohoku.
- the volunteerAKITA crew
July 23, 2011 – A big thanks to our awesome friend Kat down in Ishinomaki who has been helping us out HUGE and made a delivery to a smaller shelter near her apt. Kat delivered 50 peaches and 74 bananas to a shelter located outside of central Ishinomaki that has not been getting as much relief help as other shelters. We are glad to provide them with some fruit and appreciate Kat giving us a heads up on their situation out there. We look forward to getting back there soon and hope to continue helping them out as much as we can.
July 30, 2011 – With the summer months being so busy here in Akita, we have been doing our best to keep fruit moving into the communities. We are happy to be able to provide fruit for the LOVE KOGANEHAMA event which takes place every Saturday, and hope to continue supporting and providing fruit for them on a regular basis. This weekend, we supplied them with 962 bananas and 665 oranges. The event provides food and other relief supplies to about 300 people, and we definitely look forward to working with them in the future.