Some of you have asked about contributing to the Japan earthquake relief. Jim and I have done a little investigating. While there are many homegrown Japanese organizations that can use donations at this hard time, many do not have an English language website and are not equipped to take donations easily from other countries.
The scale of devastation is so great and the need for basic supplies so enormous, that giving to one of the larger relief organizations is an excellent action at this time. That can be, for instance, Red Cross, Mercy Corps, or the Salvation Army, to name a few; any of the relief arms of the mainline churches, such as UMCOR (United Methodist), Episcopal Relief and Development, Presbyterian Disaster Action, or ELCA (Lutheran); or some other organization that has been highlighted in your local news. All of these are easy to find online.
But if you’d like a recommendation of something on a smaller, more personal scale, we can strongly recommend the Asian Rural Institute, which we have known and supported for thirty years. This is an ecumenical training center for grassroots rural leaders from Asia and Africa, who learn both organic farming and leadership skills to take back to their rural communities. It was begun by a Japanese pastor and is rooted in the love of Christ for all people. It has a simple, ambitious goal: To feed the world, one village at a time. For such a small place and operating on a shoestring, the center has had an amazingly long reach to many, many countries. The farm is located about 100 miles away from Sendai and suffered structural damage to almost every one of its buildings. It was just getting ready for spring planting and for receiving a new group of 30 students, April – December. They’ve decided to postpone the students’ arrival for a month until the school assesses its situation. In the meantime, however, the center is in a unique position to reach out to neighbors, share food, and build community among those who are suffering the impact of the earthquake.
In soliciting donations, one staff member put it this way:
“If you would like to make a donation of support and solidarity with the people of Japan, ARI is an excellent way to do this.
First, ARI is both in the affected area and is affected by the earthquake, yet the organization has an intact human infrastructure and is producing its own food. ARI will not be having a problem of food shortages. The institute already has harvested and stored rice for the coming year. It has already harvested and stored silage and other fermented feed for the livestock. As an organization, ARI will continue operating and serving the local community.
Second, ARI has vast experience managing volunteers. Every year over a thousand volunteers come to ARI. This puts ARI in a unique position as a functioning local organization with this experience.
Third, ARI has a channel already for receiving funds from North America. For close to 30 years American Friends of ARI (AFARI) has been in partnership with ARI raising various kinds of support. This channel still exists today. Anyone can contribute to ARI through the website and be assured that these funds will go directly to an excellent organization working in the earthquake-affected area of rural Japan. There will be no red tape or overhead.”
As for the radiation concern, ARI is located well outside the danger area. That said, the situation seems to change daily, if not hourly. If you want to get ARI updates, there are links below, or you can contact J.B. Hoover, Executive Director of AFARI, who is in regular communication with ARI. His information is also below.
For those of you who are church-related, ARI has strong ties to the Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic churches. If you would like to know more about these connections, we can put you in touch with the right people who can help you gather information for your church’s outreach committee, if necessary. We can promise you that once your church is on ARI’s list, you will receive excellent follow-up, with great stories and a personal connection.
So, if you feel moved to make an online donation to ARI, you can do so here:
If you prefer to send a check, make it out to AFARI and send to:
11920 Burt St., Suite 145
Omaha, NE 68154-1574
Thank you so much for reading this rather long message, and if you would like more information about ARI, there are some links below, as well as photos of damage at the school. Feel free to pass this email along to anyone you think would be interested.
Sincerely, in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Japan,
Jim and Kathryn Treece, Detroit, MI
734-649-2221 (K’s cell)
734-660-4191 (J’s cell)
Google AFARI News Group:
Those who would like to make a donation:
Latest update from Jonathan McCurley (United Methodist missionary at ARI)
ARI news via United Methodist News Service
American Friends of the Asian Rural Institute
1121A N 94th St.
Seattle, WA 98103