Japanese mothers and other concerned New Yorkers gathered in Union Square Thursday afternoon to collect funds and spread awareness for Japan's ongoing recovery from earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear disaster.
Families and other advocates wore white and red T-Shirts with slogans like "Japanese Mothers United" to collect checks and small cash donations for organizations like Save The Children.
They also collected money for the Japan Society and Japan Center for International Exchange, which are also leading fundraising efforts.
Participants said they heard stories over the telephone of babies in Japan in need of milk and water and adults without health care, and decided to be an active part of the solution.
Naoko Fitzgerald, who organized the event, e-mailed 20 friends to take part and posted information on the demonstration on Facebook.
"We can't just be sad in front of TV. We need to act, united, to give the Japanese people moral support as well as fundraising. They need money, they need to know how much we care," said Fitzgerald.
The organizers also handed out origami cranes, which are a symbol of peace in Japan. These paper cranes, however, had written on the inside of their wings what organizers say are the three best Web sites for donations -- JCIE.org/earthquake, save-the-children.org and japansociety.org/earthquake.
Meantime, President Barack Obama Thursday called the Japanese prime minister to offer U.S. sympathy and support. From the White House rose garden he assured the world that his administration is working to prevent what happened at a Japanese nuclear power plant from happening here.
"That’s why I’ve asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to do a comprehensive review of the safety of our domestic nuclear plants in light of the natural disaster that unfolded in Japan," Obama said.
The president also made an unannounced visit to the Japanese embassy to sign the condolence book.
Donate To Relief Efforts
The Mayor's Fund is collecting donations for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Contact the Mayor's Fund or call 311.
The Red Cross is also accepting donations through text message. A $10 donation can be made by texting "RedCross" to 90999.
AT&T says it will not charge a text message fee for those donations.
The Japan Center For International Exchange is receiving donations at JCIE.org/earthquake.
Save The Children is also accepting donations at save-the-children.org.
The Japan Society is helping coordinate U.S. relief efforts and is accepting donations through its Web site at JapanSociety.org/earthquake.
UJA-Federation has also set up an emergency fund. Donations can be made online at www.ujafedny.org/japan-quake-fund or by phone to 1-212-836-1486.
Donors should make their checks payable to UJA-Federation of New York and write "Japan Earthquake Relief Fund" in the memo line. Checks should be sent to:
UJA-Federation of New York/Japan Earthquake Relief Fund
P.O. Box 4056
New York, NY 10261-4056
For more information on a charity, check the Attorney General’s Web site at www.charitiesnys.com.