Saturday, June 2, 2012

2HJ's Ishinomaki Office and Our Assistance to Those in the Disaster Areas

Written by Yuji Shibata

It has been long since the last time I reported about our relief efforts in Ishinomaki. This time, I would like to report what we have done since last November.

Second Harvest Japan (2HJ) is currently delivering food packages to destitute families in the region to help them till they can get by on their own. 

Till October 2011, we had been distributing food and supplies in a one-stop distribution form in the hard-stricken areas, particularly on the coastal side. But after November, as stores came back to the areas, we changed our approach to work with Fair Trade Tohoku, a local NGO, and opened our branch office in Ishinomaki so that we can deliver food packages to houses of the families who seriously need our support. 

We will continue to support the people in the region for a long run. 

2HJ's Ishinomaki Office

At this office, we not only prepare food packages, but also accept applications from those hope to receive food from us and pass out food packages to those who can come to the office.

We deliver packages to those who cannot come to the office. 

Package preparation

We hand out food packages to people who come to the office.

Inside of the office. Fair Trade Tohoku has their office next to ours. 

A typical food package set

The recipients have different backgrounds, but we see many people in their 40s and 50s having difficult time finding a job, single-parent households, old couples, old singles, people with debts. 

Here are some example stories of the recipients.

  • A temporary part-timer says he could get into only a temporary house in suburb, but he doesn't have a car or a driver's license. So, shopping is extremely hard. He hasn't eaten for recent several days and says he would take any kinds of food even though they are expired. 
  • An unemployed woman says, after she lost her job, they were dependent on the unemployment insurance, but the compensation ended. It is extremely hard to find a new job, and they don't have a source of income. The first floor of their house got flooded, and they had been living on the second floor. Recently, they cleaned the first floor enough to live there. But the repair is not sufficient, and they don't have money for the repair. 
  • A single woman in her 50s says she works as a part-timer only weekends. She earns only several tens of thousands yen per month. She uses her car only when she goes to work. Recently she borrowed a cup of rice from her neighbor. She applied for welfare but got turned down because she has a car. 
  • A temporary worker says he doesn't have stable income since they don't give him work constantly. He is using his savings but not sure how long it will last. 

Those who received employment compensations often end up with the compensation finished before they can find a new job. 

Like you see above, many people are in unstable living situations. For the reconstruction of their lives, it is crucial for them to get new jobs, but till then, we will need to keep assisting them with food packages. 

We thank you for your continued support. 

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