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on helping after the earthquake
March 15, 2011 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Want to help out after the earthquake in Japan? Huffington Post has info on how best to donate to disaster relief and Charity Navigator has information on what organizations are working there. On the nerdier side of things, the fandom community over at Livejournal is auctioning off their art, from fanfiction to scarves to editing, at help_japan and quite a few of the DeviantArt kids are making "Pray For Japan" (and "don't pray, just act") themed art to encourage people to donate. (More on the DeviantArt stuff.) Some Etsy users are also selling crafts for earthquake relief*.

Related AskMes: 1, 2, 3.

Earthquake previously: 1, 2, MeTa.

*Since the Etsy users seem to mostly be doing this individually, it's possible they aren't all legit-- you'll want to be careful to make sure your money is actually going to relief efforts.
posted by NoraReed (32 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rubyists Coming Together For Japan: http://www.rubyistsforjapan.com
posted by not_the_water at 9:58 PM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


More for nerds: Write For Relief is a smaller fanfic request thing on LJ. Kind of like Yuletide, but for charity!
posted by Mizu at 10:27 PM on March 15, 2011


My personal snap point with "pray for Japan" came with a Twitter thing exhorting people to imagine angels pouring cold water on the reactors.

If there are any angels out there, I want them to know better than to pour cold water on superheated objects, dammit.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:52 PM on March 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


IGN are having a gaming marathon for Japan
makes sense to me
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:55 PM on March 15, 2011


The praying thing really irks me, too. It's fine to pray, personally, but when you start yelling at other people and calling them dicks for not announcing that they are praying to others, there's got to be something wrong at the root of the issue.
posted by Mizu at 11:00 PM on March 15, 2011


What the fuck is this shit? This is horrible.
posted by anazgnos at 11:13 PM on March 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


admittedly if they were going to man up on milspec water cannon trucks and include boric acid in their preparations, sure, but pouring from some golden ewer or something not so much
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:27 PM on March 15, 2011


Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance urges givers to make sure their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help those in need.

A list of organizations that are already helping.
posted by netbros at 11:43 PM on March 15, 2011




This was posted in one of the mega threads and I thought Shelterbox's concept was pretty cool. Each shipped box costs ~$1000 and usually contains a shelter, stove, bedding, kids activities, tools and water purification supplies depending on the nature of the emergancy and where it is going to.
posted by Mitheral at 12:14 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, the prayer thing is pretty crazy.

I'm at an Evangelical seminary and a friend of mine was crying because someone told her that they prayed for their friend in Hawaii, and they were going to pray for Japan, but they didn't know anyone there so didn't bother. It broke her heart that people could be so evil. A similar rumor is going around campus about someone who defended their cavalier attitude about the situation because Japan "is not a Christian nation." Let me just say that that sort of thing is not the common sentiment and that it's definitely very wrong, theologically as well. Every Sunday in my church we read Jesus' summary of the Old Testament law: love God, and love your neighbor.

Anyone who shows anything less than actionable love to Japan is failing to live up to the Christian standard.
posted by brenton at 12:37 AM on March 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


A question for a friend: does anyone know a way to donate directly to the families of the reactor workers who have stayed to try to mitigate the damage caused by the more than likely meltdowns?
posted by strixus at 1:00 AM on March 16, 2011


Somebody registered this domain: godhatesjapan.com. It's not what you think.
posted by maudlin at 1:19 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


does anyone know a way to donate directly to the families of the reactor workers who have stayed to try to mitigate the damage caused by the more than likely meltdowns?

According to an article in NYT:
Tokyo Electric has refused to release the names or any other information about the 50 workers who stayed behind, nor have utility executives said anything about how they are being relieved as they become tired or ill.
Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:06 AM on March 16, 2011


I'm at an Evangelical seminary and a friend of mine was crying because someone told her that they prayed for their friend in Hawaii, and they were going to pray for Japan, but they didn't know anyone there so didn't bother.

The world really is so small these days. Chances are that person doesn't even realize that they're within at least six degrees of someone working in Japan, living there, whatever-- hell, if you count us talking here as a step in the chain, it's probably three or less thanks to Japanese MeFites.

But there really still are people in the world who hold that need to actually know someone-- someone hurting, someone gay, someone not of their race or faith-- before they can get their heads around compassion. I don't know that I understand it, myself.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:12 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that prayer - regardless of which deity you're praying to - is a very powerful thing. But I think the most powerful thing about prayer is that it's supposed to change you, the person praying. My most "powerful" (or purposeful, rather) times of prayer have been when I got up off my knees afterward and actually did something about it, whether that was go help that friend, give money to that charity, or whatever. Praying (without follow-up action) simply to absolve yourself of any guilt, to feel like you "did something", isn't exactly what I'd call effective.

I understand that not everyone believes in the spiritual realm, or follows a religion, which is absolutely fine, but I think it's perfectly legitimate asking people to pray for Japan... as long as that prayer leads to action.

[James 2:20 - "Faith without works is dead."]
posted by hasna at 2:18 AM on March 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, posting an update to my Facebook status and joining the "wear red and white on March 24 for Japan" isn't enough?
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:29 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, mobile phone donations aren't the best method.
posted by JABof72 at 4:56 AM on March 16, 2011


As a layman of the Christian faith, I don't claim to speak with any deep knowledge of the gospels, but from my cursory readings and dabblings therein, I always have thought that Christians as a whole often tend to get the prayer / faith life / etc. vs. action scale reversed in our day and age from how Christ did it way back when. I say this to state my point of view, not to slight or offend any of my well-intentioned fellow believers.

In almost every story I read about Christ, he takes action to help people first, then finds time to get away and pray on his own and without telling people where he was going or what he was doing. He feeds the 5,000 - then disappears promptly on a mountain by himself to pray. He heals the demon-possessed girl, then goes for a walk by the sea. He heals the centurion's kid then promptly gets on a boat to leave.

Jesus never really opens any of his times of teaching or miraculous acts with any kind of prayer. When he taught the disciples the Lord's prayer, it was only because they had first asked him to teach them. Very rarely when his words are recorded in the gospels are they words of prayer - the Lord's prayer itself is only 66 words. That isn't to say Jesus didn't pray - he probably prayed more than most humans will ever approach - in fact he guarded his alone times to talk to his father jealously. One could easily argue that he even put his prayer and spiritual life ahead of his family, friends, and even ministry itself, given how often we see him steal off by himself. Yet still, we know little of those times.

What we know a lot about is all the things Jesus did - his multitudinous acts in all their painstaking detail (feeding 5000, feeding 4000, how many loaves and fishes were left, what type of affliction this child had, how many men that woman had slept with, etc.). A thousand times over in the gospels, we see him feeding, healing, forgiving, rescuing, teaching. While prayer may have been his priority, clearly action came first for Jesus (or, as Westley said: we are men of action, lies do not become us).

I had a professor in college that liked to say "pray, and get out your pencil." He was the same one who also said "Trust God, but row away from the rock."

So, yeah - I agree, prayer is a very powerful thing, and I have been praying for the millions of affected in Japan. But, like the way I have dealt with the smaller tragedies that have struck those closer to my own personal life, I first ask the person (or in Japan's case, the organizations) "What can I do to help?" Prayer should remain something of a (mostly) unspoken, but very definite and important afterthought, as far as I can tell.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:10 AM on March 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


Serious question: Is there a point to donating money to disaster relief efforts immediately after a disaster occurs?

I don't recall ever hearing that a given relief effort was hampered by lack of funds. Once world attention is on a location, it seems that logistical issues are the only ones that matter: how do we get tangible benefits on the ground? Is there even a way for any organization to use donated money in the short term? Once the Red Cross gets my money to buy food, water, and medical supplies, won't it be months before those resources can be procured from a vendor, delivered to some location, and distributed?

This isn't to say that those charities aren't worth donating to. I just don't see how there's any benefit to donating on a "per-emergency" basis, as opposed to just donating regularly and ensuring that they can maintain a sufficient bank of emergency resources for short term use.
posted by CaseyB at 6:26 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just don't see how there's any benefit to donating on a "per-emergency" basis, as opposed to just donating regularly and ensuring that they can maintain a sufficient bank of emergency resources for short term use.

This is pretty much the stance that the Doctors Without Borders has taken. Even though they are working in Japan, MSF-USA isn't taken donations earmarked for Japan. Rather they are asking for general support so that they can always be prepared to respond to any emergency (especially the ones that don't get world-wide attention).
posted by kimdog at 6:37 AM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


People not wishing to pass through potentially questionable (or plain fraud) donation websites may consider going trough Google Crisis Response page (red cross, unicef, save the children) donation links.
posted by elpapacito at 7:04 AM on March 16, 2011


Canadian artist Jennifer Romita is selling her beautiful Cat Blossoms artwork for Doctors Without Borders.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:20 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


to hammer home the point about "earmarked donations", read Felix Salmon's Don’t donate money to Japan.
posted by liza at 8:08 AM on March 16, 2011


One could easily argue that he even put his prayer and spiritual life ahead of his family, friends, and even ministry itself, given how often we see him steal off by himself. Yet still, we know little of those times.

He was gettin' hiiiiigh
posted by FatherDagon at 8:22 AM on March 16, 2011


Here's a chiptune compilation to benefit Japan. The proceeds go to Red Cross.
posted by budmelvin at 9:10 AM on March 16, 2011


I'm at an Evangelical seminary and a friend of mine was crying because someone told her that they prayed for their friend in Hawaii, and they were going to pray for Japan, but they didn't know anyone there so didn't bother. It broke her heart that people could be so evil. A similar rumor is going around campus about someone who defended their cavalier attitude about the situation because Japan "is not a Christian nation." Let me just say that that sort of thing is not the common sentiment and that it's definitely very wrong, theologically as well. Every Sunday in my church we read Jesus' summary of the Old Testament law: love God, and love your neighbor.

brenton, maybe you should encourage your friends to take a walk a couple of blocks south to the pacific asia museum and then have them publicly defend their rumored position? How does someone lacking critical understanding of theology even get into seminary in the first place?!

Anyone who shows anything less than actionable love to Japan is failing to live up to the Christian standard.


keep saying this around your campus. you've nailed it.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 9:41 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad this thread is here and I've used it to aid the relief effort.

That said, my trusted charity evaluation company Givewell says there's no more room for funding the relief effort in Japan and I should hold off on my donation.
posted by carsonb at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Casey: That's the reason you should give "unrestricted funds" like the HuffPo article says. Giving to the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders on an emergency basis is really only effective in that the disaster motivated you to donate. The relief organizations are acting around the world daily (for instance, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 home fires a year, providing temporary shelter, clothing and food to people enduring minor scale disasters all the time) and they need money to do it all the time. When a major scale, big news coverage event happens, lots of people suddenly send $10. This is a good thing because the organization will always need money to do their work and people are not always motivated to give money.

So, if the question is: does Japan really need my $10 today? I can't answer that. But the question of "Do reputable relief agencies really need my $10 today?" The answer is always yes.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. Japan is rich and organised. Why would anyone there need our money? This urge to donate seems more like it's about us, and our complicated feelings of impotence in the face of a tragedy, than the people actually in Japan.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2011


Japan does not need money; they have asked for and received the help of the U.S. armed forces, but the primary need of Tohoku right now is for roads to be repaired and start shipping back in food and supplies, and the Japanese are doing that with their own funds. Cleanup can likely be accomplished without any external aid as well.

Still, speaking as someone in Japan, I'm going to donate to a national NGO just because I feel the country has done a lot for me...
posted by shii at 4:36 PM on March 16, 2011


Just aside: I am participating in the help_japan auction, offering custom-made hand-tooled fiction and raggedy art. MefiMail me if you'd like to see my auction links.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:23 PM on March 16, 2011


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