Friday, March 25, 2011

Small Acts = Big Difference

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. ~Howard Zinn

Oh, wow! I must share the new website I came across today: Socks for Japan! This group distributes socks and care letters to the victims of earthquake and tsunami disasters.

It's so wonderful! Isn't it wonderful? Tell me it's wonderful! Here's an opportunity for people (all of you!) to help those affected by the disasters in a very meaningful, direct, and tangible way. I think Jason Kelly is a rock star for organizing this effort and donating his time to manage the operation. He happens to live close enough to the affected areas to be able to drive there and personally deliver the socks to the victims, but far enough away that he's able to receive mail (i.e., our packages). Jason and his friends realized that they were in a unique position to help the survivors and so set up the Socks for Japan operation. These people have some big hearts!

You can mail new socks to their address in Tochigi, Japan, attach a letter of support and then Jason's crew will deliver it into the hands of man, woman, or child currently waiting for much needed warm and clean clothing. You can read more about how to send socks on their website and you can get your letter translated into Japanese by one of the volunteers helping out. Socks might seem like a very small and inconsequential detail in the face of such epic events but they are making all the difference to real people in real time. As I looked at socks in the store today, I thought about how much I enjoy putting on thick, cozy socks to warm my feet. I can only imagine what that feeling must be like for the victims who haven't put on a clean pair of socks since March 11. I assure you, your small act of sending a pair of socks will make a big difference in comforting someone whom you've never met. And your letter of support... perhaps this will make the biggest difference of all. Here's a quote from the latest trip the volunteers took to deliver socks to Ibaraki:

"Three ladies sat together on a blanket after receiving their socks, all three engrossed in reading the letters. They looked so happy and kept turning to each other to share what their letters said. They noticed us noticing them, and the eldest among them held her letter up and told us, “This is wonderful."

(I can’t stop reading the Socks for Japan updates and tearing up at the work they’re doing!).

Okay, so, here are the details on how you can help:
  1. Buy some socks! Or, if you're lucky, you may be able to talk your local sock-supplying store into donating some to you for the cause (see the website for copy of the letter from SFJ that you can show the store manager). You can buys socks for men, women, boys, girls, and babies!
  2. Put each pair in a sealed plastic bag. Don't forget to removed the clasps or tags that keep them together!
  3. ENCLOSE A LETTER! Here's a great opportunity to really touch someone's life. Include a supportive, caring letter with each pair of socks. You can write one message and them copy that message for each pair. If you're in to this sort of thing, I highly recommend including lots of colors, stickers, and hand drawings into your letters -- especially for children. Even a picture of you might be nice! Then, the recipient can see who actually wrote to them. For helpful ideas on what to write and for a translation, check out Jason's Care Letter Creation Page.
  4. Label the bag. To help the volunteers distribute the socks, an identifying label marking whether the pair is for a man, woman, boy, girl, or baby is helpful. It's recommended to print this on the outside of the bag or put a note on the inside which is readable for the outside.
  5. Include your E-mail Address on the package: The volunteers would like our E-mail addresses so that they can keep in touch with us and let us know about the status of our packages. (Write on the box, not the plastic bags.)
  6. Write "URGENT: RELIEF SUPPLIES" on the package: This will help your package to arrive more quickly and breeze through customs.
  7. Mail your package!
    Jason Kelly
    Plaza Kei 101
    Wakamatsu-cho 615-6
    Sano, Tochigi 327-0846
I'd also like to send a BIG THANKS to my sister, Lydia, and the entire Georgia State University's Department of Early Childhood Education! They're working together to gather socks and write letters for the our friends in Japan. I'm truly touched by the generosity of this group of individuals. Hundreds of people are involved and I can only imagine that their donation will translate into hundreds of comforted and soothed Japanese souls/soles.

Again, thank you GSU! And thank you Jason Kelly and your volunteers on the ground in Japan!

Socks for Japan:

1 comment:

Lydia said...

I'm so excited about photo cataloging the process. There are a lot of people excited here in Atlanta! Thanks for inspiring, Linds.

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