February 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 31°F


Community contributes to Japan relief effort

Students and local organizations are engaging in the national effort to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

After a tsunami hit Japan on March 11, destroying property, killing thousands and causing a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the country is in need of donations.

Student organizations at the college, such as the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Alliance, are finding ways to contribute to the local relief effort.

Sophomore Julianne Feller, president of the college’s SPJ chapter, and senior Jacqueline Palochko, opinion editor of The Ithacan, are organizing a benefit concert to raise money. Feller said several acts have committed to performing at the concert, but they are still reaching out to student organizations and performing groups to help with the benefit.

The money raised from the concert will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Feller said the concert is scheduled for April 13 and will be held in Emerson Suites.

AAA is also helping raise money. In addition to hosting a table at the benefit concert, club president Sherry Shen said her organization will spend the rest of the semester contributing to the relief effort.

“I really felt like it was my responsibility as the leader of the club to do something for the people of Japan because of what had happened there,” Shen said.

Shen said the club will make origami cranes throughout the rest of the spring semester and mail them to an initiative started by the Bezos Family Foundation called, “Students Rebuild.” For every crane received, the foundation will send $2 to support the Japan relief effort.

“There’s a lot of personal meaning behind origami cranes,” Shen said. “Cranes are very sacred creatures within Japanese culture. The cranes are supposed to represent healing and support.”

AAA will also be selling shirts that say “Ithaca is Gorges” in various Asian languages and donating proceeds to the American Red Cross, which in turn will funnel donations to the earthquake relief effort.

Shen said proceeds from the organization’s Asia Night next month, a celebration of Asian cultures, will also donate proceeds from their dinner to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

Yuko Mulagetta, director of enrollment and communication, said she will take part in making origami cranes for the benefit concert along with AAA.

Mulagetta, who has family in Japan, said she feels the impacts on a personal level and looks forward to coordinating with other students to help the Japanese people.

“We have a very small Japanese community, but we can get together and think it through,” Mulagetta said. “This is still the very beginning.”

Students and locals can also contribute to the relief effort by shopping at Wegmans, which is taking part in the effort to raise money for Japan.

According to Wegmans’ website, the company will accept customer checkout donations that will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami, until April 2. The customers may donate as much as they choose, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the fund.

K Minnix, communications director of the Tompkins County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said Red Cross chapters across the country are collecting monetary donations to give to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

“There’s nothing we’re doing in terms of going there, because the Japanese Red Cross is a very strong organization,” Minnix said. “They’ve got two million volunteers, and they’ve got a lot of experienced disaster relief people working with them.”

Minnix said the American Red Cross committed $10 million to Japan as of March 17.

Maj. Carl Carville, commanding officer of the Ithaca Salvation Army, said the Ithaca Salvation Army is also collecting donations for Japan.

“What we’ve been asked to do is to receive donations for Japan, and as we receive them we pass them on immediately to our headquarters, who again moves them on to the folks in Japan,” Carville said.

Mulagetta said it is crucial for students at the college to realize the impacts a disaster of this magnitude has on civilians and do what they can to lend a helping hand.

“We thought we should get together and help Japan,” Mulagetta said. “This is a disaster that you’re not going to see for a century.”

To get involved with the concert, contact Julianne Feller at jfeller1@ithaca.edu.