Friday, April 8, 2011

Let the Waters Lift Us

It has been almost a month since an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, causing massive damage, staggering loss of life, and an ongoing nuclear disaster - not to mention countless aftershocks hampering relief efforts.

I've put finger to keyboard several times to try to put down my thoughts on it, but nothing I have written comes close to adequately say what I want to express about it. For some things, there just aren't words.

Since this event, there have been amazing responses - both good and bad, both in the real world and in SecondLife. As it normally happens, catastrophes bring out the best and worst in people. Personally, I can't understand any human response to what is happening in Japan other than absolute compassion.

Several benefits sprung up in SL seemingly overnight to try to raise money for relief efforts, including the Pacific Crisis Fundraiser, the Help Japan Fundraiser, and Project Fur Japan. So many creators donated their time and content to raise money, and I am grateful for each and every person who did something to try to help.

It has been a month, but the need does not wane, even if our attention might. Here is a reminder of how you can help directly to organizations offering relief in Japan.
  • The American Red Cross. Using your cell phone, you can text-message donations of $10 to the agency. Text the letters REDCROSS to 90999 to make the $10 donation, or visit the organization's website.
  • The Salvation Army, which has had a presence in Japan since 1895. In Tokyo, the Salvation Army "opened its main building to help shelter commuters who were unable to reach home. They served hot drinks and packed meals," said a spokesperson. You can text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts.
  • Doctors Without Borders, an international group, already has teams working in Japan. The groups notes it is "drawing on unrestricted donations" given to it to fund its efforts, and "we are not accepting donations specifically earmarked for the recovery efforts in Japan. We greatly appreciate your generosity and encourage your support of our work. We will continue to post updates on our homepage, Facebook and Twitter as new information becomes available." To donate, call 1-888-392-0392.
  • The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is raising funds to help children in Japan. Donations accepted at website, or by calling 1-800-367-5437.
  • Mercy Corps  is "accepting donations to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami through our longstanding partner, Peace Winds Japan." Donations will go to meeting the "immediate and longer-term needs of the survivors," a spokesperson said. You can text “MERCY” to 25383 to donate $10.

 For animal relief:
  • World Vets (veterinarians) offers veterinary aid around the world in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, veterinarians abroad, other governments and military organizations. The organization has a Japan Disaster Relief Web page where you can donate.
  • Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK) says it will accept care of as many quake-tsunami related homeless animals as it can. Donations can be made at the website using PayPal, and money contributed will be used specifically for that, the organization says.

If you're wary of donating to any charity, the Better Business Bureau has information on how to give responsibly. Also, the Charity Navigator is always a good resource when considering how to help causes you believe in. (I seriously wish there was one of those in SecondLife!)


Dress: Agnes Finney - Agnes Blessing for Japan (for Project Fur Japan)
Hat: Vita's Boudoir - Cherry Blossom Bonsai Hat (for Help Japan Benefit)
Jewelry: Alienbear - Kitty Cyrus Collection (for Project Fur Japan)
Poses: Adorkable, Exposeur, Gesticulate/Status - (Posers Unite package for Pacific Crisis Fund)

Hair: Bliss Couture - Cecilia, Vanille
Glasses: Wrigglesworth - Cat Eye Glasses

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