By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The crisis in Japan has inspired people all over the world to help with the recovery. Local charities here in Starkville are helping to raise money for humanitarian aid in the disaster stricken country.
The Rotary Clubs of central Mississippi were especially moved by the tragedy. In 2005, the club hosted a group of Rotarians from Japan and in turn sent several members to Japan in a group study exchange. That group came from northeastern Japan, the area hit the hardest by both the quake and the tsunami.
The Rotary Club has been known for raising money for those affected by natural disasters. According to Jack Forbus, former district governor of the Central Mississippi Rotary Club, the group raised almost $1 million dollars after Hurricane Katrina. The bond made during the group exchange remains strong, and the Starkville Rotary club is determined to help their Japanese counterparts.
“We learned a lot during Katrina,” Forbus said. “We learned all those lessons, and now we have connections in Japan who are in trouble.”
The club would like to raise several hundred thousand dollars. They will send all donations directly to the Rotary clubs in Japan, where they feel it will have the most impact.
“Every dollar given will be a dollar received,” Forbus assured.
If you would like to donate through the Rotary Club, you can make a check out to The Starkville Rotary foundation. All contributions will be tax deductible.
“There are a lot of people in this community who give when the cause is just,” Forbus said.
The Red Cross has started a large campaign to raise money for their relief efforts in Japan. They have pledged an initial $10 million to help with ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance. Those who want to donate can “click, text or call.” You can donate by visiting the Red Cross website, www.redcross.org , and get updates on their work in the area. A $10 donation can also be added to a cell phone bill when “redcross” is texted to the number “90999.” Or, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS where operators are standing by to receive pledges.
“The best way that anyone can donate is a financial contribution,” said Megan Burks, a development and communications officer with the Red Cross . “We can buy bulk supplies at a much cheaper cost. While supply and clothing donations are appreciated, the packaging and shipping them over there would be difficult.”