A statewide campaign for donations to survivors of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has exceeded $3 million.
The “Aloha for Japan” initiative involves more than 160 Hawaii financial institutions, merchants, schools, community groups and one-time fundraising events such as “Eat the Street” in a coordinated campaign.
Japan-America Society of Hawaii President Ed Hawkins traveled to Tokyo this month to present a $1 million check to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
Banks that are contributing have extended collection deadlines to the end of the month. Credit unions statewide are also joining the effort.
Money continues to go to the campaign through donations, concerts, fundraising events and T-shirt sales. Go to www.alohaforjapan.com.
Prime minister expresses thanks
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has sent a letter, through the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu, thanking the people of the world for their generosity and concern in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
His letter says, in part:
“Every blanket and every cup of hot soup brought warmth and strength to the cold and exhausted who had lost everything. Rescue teams heroically searched for survivors in the heaps of broken rubble, while medical teams worked tirelessly caring for the injured.
“We are still receiving a tremendous outpouring of encouragement, prayers and support from people worldwide. We deeply appreciate the Kizuna (bonds of friendship) our friends around the world have shown and I want to thank every nation, entity, and you personally, from the bottom of my heart.”
Rotarians fund 61 shelter kits
Kona-area Rotary clubs raised more than $61,000 to provide 61 ShelterBoxes for tsunami victims in Japan. Rotary clubs have “sister city”relationships with several Rotary clubs in the Sendai area, one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster.
Each ShelterBox contains emergency shelters for as many as 10 people, along with blankets, cooking utensils, medical supplies and other items. Go to www.shelterbox.org for more information.
‘Ganbatte’ benefit to be held May 1
Mixed martial arts athletes Egan and Enson Inoue are holding a “Ganbatte for Japan” benefit fundraiser on May 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom.
Scheduled events include high-energy classes such as Zumba, CardioMix and Turbo Kick Box taught by Hawaii’s top instructors. Students of traditional Japanese singing instructor Dennis Oshiro will perform. Other events include martial arts demonstrations, a gourmet bake sale, a silent auction, keiki fun zone and autograph sessions with BJ Penn, Sunny Garcia and others.
Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children 4-15 years old; children under 4 are free. Tickets can be purchased at www.hawaiifitcamp.com or www.showclix.com/event/33582. Free parking will be provided with all advance ticket purchases; otherwise, event parking is available at Pacific Beach for a $5 fee.
Breakfast earns $50,000 for relief
Big Island state Rep. Bob Herkes raised more than $50,000 for American Red Cross relief efforts at his April 13 “Breakfast with Bob” event at the Pacific Club.
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz spoke about the importance of Hawaii residents banding together in times of need. Hawaii Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Coralie Matayoshi gave an update on the relief efforts in the state and acknowledged Hawaii’s spirit of aloha and the support given when others are in need, be it in Samoa, Haiti or Japan.
A&B sends aid groups $40,000
Alexander & Baldwin employees, along with matching funds from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, contributed $40,000 for Japan disaster relief.
A&B employees made 140 donations totaling $20,000 to various organizations, and the A&B Foundation matched their donations, the company said.
The employees gave to such groups as the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Japan-America Society of Hawaii and UNICEF, the company said.
Aloha Petroleum accepts donations
Aloha Petroleum is collecting cash donations through May from customers at its Aloha Island Mart convenience stores and participating Shell locations to support Japan disaster relief.
The special American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund collection canisters will be placed at Aloha Island Mart and Shell checkout counters.