For Wednesday, March 16, 2011
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 16, 2011
The state attorney general's office is warning residents to be wary of scams that prey on people wanting to donate to relief efforts for Japan.
"Hawaii residents are eager to extend a helping hand in this time of great suffering to our friends in Japan," Attorney General David Louie said in a news release. "Unfortunately, if our experience with earlier tragedies is any guide, we suspect that there may be so-called 'charities' that will try to take advantage of donors' generosity by scamming people out of donations intended for disaster victims."
Louie encouraged residents to verify the donations are going to reputable charities. Consumers can review the attorney general's database of registered charitable organizations at ag.ehawaii.gov/charity/search.html, he said.
Some tips offered by Louie and the Federal Trade Commission:
» Don't contribute cash. Make a check or money order payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
» Consider giving to organizations that have a strong history in providing disaster relief, and ask about what percentage of the donation will benefit the relief effort.
» Contact the charity directly before giving a donation by e-mail or to a door-to-door solicitor.
The Salvation Army in Japan has three emergency relief teams operating in areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.
There are four ways people can contribute money to The Salvation Army's disaster relief efforts in Japan:
» Text the words "JAPAN" or "QUAKE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
» Call 800-SAL-ARMY or 800-725-2769.
» Go to donate.salvationarmyusa.org.
» Mail a check, payable to "Japan earthquake relief," to:
The Salvation Army World Service Office
International Relief Fund
PO Box 630728
Baltimore, MD 21263-0728.
At this time The Salvation Army is not accepting donations of goods or household items from the general public for disaster relief operations in Japan.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney will donate $1.2 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society for disaster recovery efforts. The New York-based wealth management company has employees in Japan, as well as in Hawaii.
"Our proximity to Japan and the size of the Japanese-American community in Hawaii make this gift all the more important to us," said Gwen Pacarro, senior vice president and Honolulu complex manager.
Central Pacific Bank said it is waiving fees for wire transfers to Japan by personal checking account customers through April 15.
The bank is also accepting disaster relief donations at its branches, as are other Hawaii banks.
Chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa launched an international fundraiser for Japan disaster relief last night at his 25 Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants around the world.
The "Japan's Relief Omakase" seven-course dinner includes sashimi, oysters, seared Kanpachi Sashimi salad, roasted lobster, a Wagyu Beef dish, sushi and miso soup as well as a dessert trio for $150, $50 of which will be donated to a Japanese-based relief organization Matsuhisa will personally select.
The fundraiser will continue through March and might be extended, a publicist said.
The Asian Lion Dance Team of Mililani donated the $1,081 it collected in pledges from Sunday's Honolulu Festival Grand Parade to relief efforts in Japan.
More than 50 people from the team marched with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
The students on the team average 9 years of age, with some as young as 3.
A monthly business networking mixer this evening will raise money for the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter for tsunami relief in Japan. The event is staged by Latin Business Hawaii, Hawaii Hispanic News and Aikahi Aloha Coin.
Latin Business Hawaii normally builds its Keiki to Kollege scholarship fund through the monthly gatherings, "but our board feels supporting the people of Japan in their time of need is more important," said co-founder Jose Villa.
The 5:30-7:30 p.m. event at the Honolulu Club costs $15 for LBH members and $25 for nonmembers, but a $5 discount will be given to anyone wearing visible green.