The massive earthquake that shook Japan Friday created a devastating, deadly tsunami, but also led to an outpouring of support from around the world.
Residents have more ways to donate than ever before, but here are some groups raising funds locally:
- KCRA telethon for Red Cross - The local television station is accepting donations through 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those interested in donating can call 1-800-513-3333.
- Raley's stores collecting for Red Cross - Shoppers at any Raley's, Bel Air, Nob Hill or Food Source store will be able to make donations to the Red Cross through March 18. Last year, the chain raised nearly $150,000 for relief efforts in Haiti. Raley's has said it will absorb any administrative costs associated with this drive and donate 100 percent of the funds collected.
- Buddhist Church of Sacramento collecting food, clothing this weekend - The Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple located at 2401 Riverside Blvd. is collecting monetary donations, nonperishible food and diapers this Friday (3:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m. - 6 p.m.). According to Kelvin Mark, president of the church's board of trustees, "All contributions will be bundled and forwarded to our home temple [in Kyoto, Japan], the Hongwanji (Temple of the Primal Vow) for direct purchase and distribution of drinking water, food, and medical supplies." A Boy Scout troop sponsored by the church will package the donations. Monetary contributions can also be mailed to: Sacramento Buddhist Church (tax id: #94-1243674), 2401 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento CA 95818.
- Mikuni Sushi offering charity roll - The Sacramento sushi chain has added a "Rescue Roll" to its menu, with 100 percent of proceeds from the $12 item going to the Red Cross. Also, Mikuni President Taro Arai's autobiography, "Abundance: Finding the American Dream in a Japanese Kitchen," will be sold for $25, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the relief effort.
- Sacramento food bloggers holding online bake sale - A group of local food bloggers, led by MunchieMusings.net, will be holding an online bake sale. Photos of the items will be posted on March 29, and visitors to the site will bid on the treats they want. All proceeds will be donated to ShelterBox USA's Japanese relief effort.
- Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California - The JCCCNC, a nonprofit organization that collected more than $600,000 for relief following the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan, is accepting donations online and by mail. Organizers say 100 percent of donations "will go directly towards citizen relief efforts in the most affected areas."
- Florin Japanese American Citizens League and CAPITAL - The two local groups say they're planning an event for April 3, but the details won't be finalized until this weekend. The national Japanese American Citizens League office, located in San Francisco, is accepting donations at http://jacl.org/.
Better Business Bureau advises caution
There's always someone looking to prey upon the generous, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is suggesting residents check into charities before donating.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and time again that scammers will try to take advantage of the generosity of the public after a disaster; that’s why it’s so important to take your time and do your research before donating to relief efforts,” Northeast California BBB President Gary Almond said in a press release.
Here are some steps suggested by the BBB:
- Visit http://www.bbb.org/charity to research charitible organizations
- Be cautious if a charity is hesitant to answer questions about its finances or plans
- Ask what the charity will do with any excess donations
- Be cautious of donating to inexperienced groups, which, according to the BBB, "although well intentioned, they may not be able to quickly deliver aid to those in need."
More information is available at BBB.org.