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On March 12th a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan, wiping out many coastal towns.  I cannot fathom the heartache of those who lost entire families in this tragedy.  And I can’t stop thinking about it.

In the days that followed, I considered what I could do to help.  You can read my thoughts in this previous post.  I decided to make some sushi sets to sell in my Artfire Shop.

I started by sketching some patterns and designs, then ran some quick small tests to see which I liked best.  After narrowing it to these three designs, I asked for help from my Facebook friends to decide which sets to make.  They had to be made in between previously committed projects and classes I was teaching.

The two selected designs were scaled up and made into 6″ sushi plates with matching sauce dishes.

When I posted results on my Facebook Page, my friend Katie offered sushi presses that Wayne (of Sticks & Stones) had made to go with my sets.  A perfect addition, I happily accepted.

The sets are $95 each and consist of two plates that are 6″, two cute little sauce dishes that are 3.5″ to 4″ and the beautiful 3 part Sushi Press.  A sweet set for two, I think it will be quite romantic using them!  Or for family fare you’ll need two sets.

Click here to purchase the set above (Whirl Design on Black)

If you’d rather have the Whirl Design on white, you can purchase it by clicking this link.

If you like the white background, you can purchase the Wave and Lotus Design with a click on this link.

And if you like the black background with the Wave and Lotus Design shown at the top of this post, you can click here to purchase it.

I’ve given my time and talent, along with Wayne and Katie Cordrey to produce these beautiful sets.  I hope you’ll consider purchasing one or two.  100% of your purchase price will go directly to relief efforts.

Did I tell you the carving on the sushi press is the Japanese character for ‘peace’?

Peace to you and yours.  xoxoxo

I can’t stop thinking about the disaster in Japan.  As I said in my last post, my heart is heavy with sadness for those who lost loved ones.  I am moved by the many televised news snippets of people that could be you or I saying things like “I couldn’t get here in time; I hope his teacher got the children out safely”, while searching through rubble for his kindergarten aged son.

I am compelled to do something helpful, no matter how small an impact one individual might have.

Which organization will be able to do the most with my contribution?   I found this very useful site ~ Charity Navigator.  Using this site, I looked at organizations I had heard about & some that I hadn’t.  I compared percentages for program expenses vs administrative and fundraising expenses.  Then I looked at CEO/Leadership salaries and mission statements. Below are those I liked the best, with statistics that are listed for each on the Charity Navigator site.

Topics nearest and dearest to my heart are children and dogs, so I looked at those quite seriously wondering if my contribution would really get to a child or send a dog for search and rescue.  Dogs can help doctors by seeking out those still alive and doctors can help injured children.  Plus, who doesn’t like a doctor willing to go help others in the worst of conditions?!!

Doctors Without Borders 4 star

Program Expenses 86.8%
Administrative Expenses 1.3%
Fundraising Expenses 11.7%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.13
Nicolas De Torrente Executive Director $118,900 0.07%

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation 4 star

Program Expenses 78.2%
Administrative Expenses 8.0%
Fundraising Expenses 13.6%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.11
Debra Tosch Executive Director $78,223 2.77%

Save the Children 4 star

Program Expenses 89.7%
Administrative Expenses 4.6%
Fundraising Expenses 5.6%
Fundraising Efficiency $0.06
Charles F. MacCormack            President                                           $365,130          0.07% 

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As for salaries, you can see Charles F. MacCormack is paid the most.  Yet he was tied for lowest percentage at .07%, along with Nicolas De Torrente whose salary was just under a third of MacCormack’s.  Debra Tosch has the lowest salary yet the highest percentage of these three.

Using just this criteria, I have to vote my money going to Doctors Without Borders.  But I still want to save the children and get search dogs sent out, so I’m contributing to all three.  How, you might ask?  I don’t have much income to spare, so for now I’ll send a percentage of all art glass sales on both my Artfire and Zibbet shops until I’ve made something specific for the cause.   I’ve got a couple sketches going that relate to Japanese art and culture.  When they’re off the drawing board and into the kiln I’ll add them to my shops, donating the entire purchase to my organizations above.

Are you doing something specific to help?  Please share your ideas with us!  I’d like to post links to others offering ways to contribute, like Marcy, selling specific lampwork beads and donating the sale to the “American Red Cross in which 91 cents per dollar donated goes to the folks they are aiding”….  And Nithya on Artfire who is “donating US $10.00 for every small painting worth US $35.00 purchased from my store.”

Another ArtFire artist, Taryn of ‘oh danger’ is donating proceeds from specific cards to Animal Refuge Kansai, a non-profit organization in Japan dedicated to helping animals. “Your money will go directly to the aid of animals in Japan affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami.”

My friend Barb works for a company that will match contributions – does yours?

Kimberly of Akimbo Studios tells me “The Rotary Club is also gearing up donations – they do more with recovery than relief. it’s going to be a BIG job on both sides! Be wary of scams people, let your hard earned dollars go to help, not line the pockets of scammers and charities with HIGH operating costs”.  A great reason to check the Charity Navigator site.

Another friend, Arnold says “let people in Japan know that people over here care about them. That is very powerful.  Write a letter of support to a major newspaper in Japan. It is easy to get letters published.”  A wonderful idea and easy to do, I’m in!

Many places like The Huffington Post and Yahoo News are listing Earthquake and Tsunami relief options for you to choose from.  Most of those listed are national or international organizations.  Don’t forget to look closer to home. Many local people are putting together fundraisers that you can easily contribute to, like this one in my area –  ski to assist Mercy Corps’ Japan disaster relief efforts. Or maybe you can start one of your own!

If you’ll post your additional ideas and links in the comments below, everyone reading this can benefit from your ideas, your links, your sales donations, and anywhere else you’ve found someone helping.  I’d love you to list your favorite organization(s) that we can contribute to.

We’re all in this world together and together we can make a difference.  Please do what you can.

If you haven’t seen this link, from the NY Times, use the sliders to see satellite images of each town before and after the disaster.

Edit:  From now until April 10th. Verizon is offering their customers free calling to Japan.  Time Warner Cable is also offering free calling to Japan if you have their telephone service, until April 15th.

My friend Barbara says:  “ALL funds received in the next month go to the Japanese response. ALL.”, with this link to the Humane Society International.

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