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Hope for Sandy Survivors -- From Japan

AmeriCares - Tue, 1 Jan 2013 18:51 GMT
Author: AmeriCares
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When Hurricane Sandy survivor Calvin Leary opened his door to a volunteer cleaning crew in November, he got more than one surprise. Not only would the volunteers clear out the sodden contents of his home in one day — a job that would have taken him months — but the group was from half a world away: Japan. The people who shoveled, scrubbed and scraped the soaked debris were from Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center, a Tokyo-based group that coordinates volunteers after disasters. AmeriCares funds Peace Boat efforts in Japan, where they are helping communities recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. When the group heard about the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, they wanted to pay back the support they'd received from the U.S. With a call to AmeriCares, they were connected to World Cares Center, a U.S.-based organization with a similar mission and also supported by AmeriCares. The Peace Boat crew was taking part in Operation Muck-Out, one of two World Cares Center projects that AmeriCares supported in Sandy's aftermath. AmeriCares provided funding for Operation Muck-Out, which trains and deploys volunteers to clean storm debris. AmeriCares donated 3,500 sleeping bags for Project Winter Warmth, which distributed them to families living without heat after the storm. Both projects are just a portion of AmeriCares aid for an estimated 300,000 people affected by Sandy. One Japanese volunteer was especially grateful for the opportunity to pay back: Yoshinobu Bandai is a resident of Ishinomaki, a city of 164,000 that was 80 percent destroyed by the 2011 disaster. Bandai had experienced the death and destruction; he had also met Peace Boat volunteers doing muck-outs there and ultimately joined the group, helping others as he himself had been helped. "My job as a heavy equipment operator was on hiatus," he says. "Volunteering with Peace Boat gave my life purpose." Read More at »

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