We released book one on September 10th, 2011. Book two went out last month, January 9th. We have slowly been collecting money ever since and today we sent off our first check, in the amount of $1221.85, to the International Medical Corps.
My initial plan had been to donate to the Red Cross once we had reached $1000.00. I had contacted them two months ago and everything looked to be on track. Then last, week, I called to make the final arrangements and was told the Red Cross has stopped accepting money for Japan. Several other charity groups have also stopped collecting. In fact, I think there is a general perception that Japan is doing just fine and no longer needs help. While Japan has made great progress, the magnitude of the disaster is so great that no one country could ever hope to overcome it alone. This is a disaster that generations of people in Japan will be recovering from. The nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Power Plant is one example of this. The extent of the meltdown has been grossly underreported and the long-term ramifications are only beginning to be understood.
People are still in need in Japan. We should not forget them.
I do not hold any ill will towards the Red Cross. They did quite a lot to help and I understand their decisions. From the beginning of the disaster, the Japanese government has be reluctant to accept foreign aid and have made it very difficult for groups like the Red Cross to do their job. There are many reasons for this and I won’t speculate here other than to say, decisions motivated by politics seldom make sense and rarely serve those truly in need.
Regardless of the reasons, the Red Cross no longer taking donations for Japan, left us with a real problem. We quickly redirected our plans and found several charities that are still working with the Japanese people – in some respects, even more closely than the Red Cross was. Ultimately, we decided on the International Medical Corps. They work directly with partners in Japan to provide general health care, with a focus on addressing the psychological needs of the survivors. They are also working to treat and relocate the thousands gravely affected by the Fukushima meltdown. I feel the International Medical Corps’ attention to these on-going issues best serves to help the people of Japan.
I am very happy we have been able to send this first check and I hope it is the first of many. This project can only raise money if people buy the books so, on behalf of all the contributors, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has picked up their copy. 100% of your purchase has gone to charity. I would also like to thank the San Gabriel Writers’ League, who has agreed to collect the money and insure it gets to the appropriate charity – specifically Kayla Marnach, Carol Menchu, and D.J. Heinrich. Finally, I’d like to thank all the contributors to books 1 and 2 and those currently working on book 3. Their work has helped to create an amazingly beautiful project (seriously, the books are well worth the money – even if you don’t care about the charity aspect.) I am proud and lucky to be a part of this endeavor.
Thanks again, and keep an eye out, there is more to come.