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Friday, April 1, 2011

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Tohoku's larder still needs stocking: How you can help

Three weeks since the devastating Tohoku Earthquake, and in Tokyo it's still far too soon to say we're back to normal — least of all when it comes to dining out. In the uncertainty and gloom of the rolling blackouts, many restaurants are still closing early, and more than a few are suffering financially, as customers keep a rein on their spending and stay closer to home.

For the people of Tohoku, especially those whose lives have been directly hit by the devastation, nothing may ever be close to normal. These are days of great hardship and privation for the hundreds of thousands of people living in emergency evacuation shelters.

There are many organizations and individuals who are doing their utmost to raise funds and supply food and other essentials. One that the Tokyo Food File endorses in particular is Second Harvest. This NPO was set up over 10 years ago as Japan's first food bank, and has been supporting orphanages, laid-off workers, elderly people without families, migrant laborers and single-mother households. Now it is bringing that expertise to delivering aid to Tohoku.

Readers in Japan can send food and equipment (new and valid items only; check the website first to see what is needed). Pickups are being arranged from a number of locations, including Tokyo International School in Mita (www.support.tokyois.com). From outside Japan, financial donations are best.

For further information, visit www.2hj.org/index.php/eng_home.

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