In the aftermath of Friday’s Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami, local civic organizations and chapters of the American Red Cross were busy coordinating relief efforts.
The Silicon Valley Lions Club, for example, tweeted a Web address for those interested in providing disaster relief for Japanese quake and tsunami victims—http://t.co/vzl8YaU. Hugh Donagher, the club's past president, said tax-deductible donations will be accepted online here.
The Red Cross of Silicon Valley gathered cots and blankets Friday to support its counterparts in Crescent City and Hawaii, said communications director Cynthia Shaw. It also checked with its volunteers for availability to go to those cities, if needed.
The Santa Cruz County Red Cross Chapter helped Friday in four evacuation centers—at the Davenport Fire Station, Jade Street Community Center in Capitola, Santa Cruz Civic Center and Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville.
The Salvation Army, which has had a presence in Japan since 1895, has set up a cellphone text donation procedure. You can donate $10 to the Salvation Army's relief efforts by texting JAPAN to 80888.
Red Cross officials said that for those who want to help with the relief efforts, money—more than materials—is needed, because the cost of transporting materials to Japan is cost-prohibitive.
People can go about donating to the Red Cross efforts in several ways, including these:
• Donate by phone.
You can donate by credit or debit card, by calling: 877-727-6771.
• Donate on the Web.
Go to www.redcross.org and donate by credit or debit card to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.
• Donate by text message.
You can donate $10 to support American Red Cross disaster relief by texting REDCROSS to 90999. The donation will appear on your monthly bill or will be debited from your prepaid account.
• Donate by mail.
Send checks to the American Red Cross, 2731 N. First St., San Jose 95134. Or here: Santa Cruz County Chapter, 2960 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz 95062.
Before donating to other charities or relief organizations, the Better Business Bureau has a list of tips to help people decide where to direct donations. For example: Be cautious when giving online, especially in response to spam messages and e-mails that claim to link to a relief organization. In response to the tsunami disaster in 2004, there were concerns raised about many websites and new organizations created overnight allegedly to help victims.
Meanwhile, the American Red Cross has information to assist those who want to contact U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services can be reached at 888-407-4747.
Also, the Red Cross Safe and Well website offers an online tool that helps families connect during emergencies like tsunamis. From a computer, visit www.redcross.org; from a smartphone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell; or from any phone, call 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register.
Finally, also as a service to find people who may be victims of the earthquake or tsunami, the Google Person Finder site is available here.
Claudia Cruz, L.A. Chung, Eric Gneckow and Aaron Selverston also contributed to this report.