Springfield, MO

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Opinion: Help us help Japan

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After the magnitude of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, folks want to give. Folks want to help. The human spirit can be quite generous given the right opportunity.

Springfield Sister Cities Association has had a relationship with Isesaki, Japan, for 25 years. Immediately following the earthquake, our office started receiving phone calls and e-mails asking about the condition of Isesaki and our friends there. The response was amazing.

Literally dozens of inquiries came in from people who have either gone to Isesaki on one of our exchanges or who have hosted people from Isesaki in their home here. It makes you realize that Sister Cities does touch lives. This is not just some far away disaster. This has a face, with names and friendships attached.

Following Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, our friends in Isesaki sent donations to SSCA with the simple instructions of “forward on to the relief effort you think is best.” And, the even more amazing story was immediately following Springfield’s destructive ice storm in January 2007. Within a couple of weeks, we received a bank draft for almost $17,000. They gave with no strings attached or specific ways it was to be used. They simply wanted us to replant trees and recover from the storm. It didn’t stop there. Two months later, a group of 11 Isesaki kindergarteners visited to help our park staff plant trees and trim the trees that could be saved.

At SSCA’s recent annual membership celebration, we kicked off our own fundraising campaign to aid in the relief efforts in Japan. We are simply making our members and supporters aware they can donate to the international relief effort locally. SSCA will send all of the money raised to our good and trusted friends in Isesaki with the same instructions they gave us: “Give it in the specific way you think serves the most pressing needs.”

It should be noted SSCA is not a relief organization. Our purpose is to connect people to people. But, with the extent of the devastation in Japan, and considering their generosity to us in the past, this is our way of paying it forward.

—Cindy Jobe, SSCA coordinator[[In-content Ad]]


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