Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two Neighborhood Kids Organize Sock and Letter Drive To Send To Disaster Victims in Japan

Charlotte Whorton and Taya McMillan, current students at Laurelhurst Elementary School,  have coordinated a special local program called "Operation Heart and Sole" collecting new socks and personal letters of support for those affected by the disaster in Japan a few weeks ago.

The items are then sent directly to an American author living in Japan, Jason Kelly, who is a volunteer coordinator for "Socks for Japan."

Jason's website says about the operation "My office location is perfect for managing a direct-aid operation because it’s close enough to the primary damage zone that we can physically get there to help, but far enough away that mail delivery is working. So we quickly set ourselves up to run this operation, called Socks for Japan."

Socks are essential as many earthquake victims ended up fleeing barefoot and still have no access to clothing in the currently freezing weather.

And letters comforting, during such a difficult time. "If those socks arrive with a caring note as well, it’s very heartening for survivors," the Socks For Japan website says.  "Japanese people treasure letters, especially ones from foreigners. Survivors of the 1995 Hanshin quake in Kobe said that care letters were among the most uplifting items they received."

Jason adds, "Hundreds of readers in the United States and other parts of the world have asked me how they can help the survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck Japan on March 11. There are many places to donate money, and that’s a wonderful thing to do, but direct aid is also cherished by survivors."

If you'd like to donate new socks, put each pair in a zip lock bag. "Zip lock bags serve a dual purpose: delivering socks in good shape, and providing a way for people to keep items dry," Jason's website says. Then label the bag man, woman, boy, girl or baby (average adult shoe size is around 6 for women and 8 for men).

Enclose a letter of support in the zip lock bag, along with a photo if you would like, as people enjoy seeing a photo of who sent their socks and letter, the website says.
Minori Watanabe (Taya’s mom) at Laurelhurt Elementary School, has graciously offered to translate all the letters of support before they are sent to Japan.

When your package is received, Socks For Japan will send a note to you at the email address you wrote on it.

You can drop your donation in the box outside the Laurelhurst Elementary school office by Friday, April 15th.

For questions contact Minori Watanabe at
Also on Thursday, April 14th,  from 3-5pm, a Laurelhurst Girl Scout Troop will be holding a bake sale on the north playground (play court if raining) of Laurelhurst Elementary School. 
Proceeds from the sale going towards helping with the shipping costs for the socks and letters.
(photo above of Charlotte and Taya, courtesy of their parents)

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