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2011.04.21

The second batch of soup kitchen volunteers: Providing 130-150 meals a day.

We received a message and some photos from the second group of soup kitchen volunteers who started distributing hot meals on April 12th.

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"We have been preparing food for lunch and dinner everyday for the past one week. Around 100 people come for every meal. One of the evacuees staying in the evacuation center told us he had been eating only rice balls, and came because he heard of our soup kitchen. There are more people coming who heard about our soup kitchen from other people.

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After a disaster, there is usually a lack of water, thus we cannot provide fresh vegetables for hygienic reasons. However, there is water in Ishinomaki base camp, so we are providing tomatoes, cabbage and cucumbers which we grew ourselves. People seem very happy to eat fresh vegetables.

People were especially happy when we served hot food, udon (Japanese noodles) and croquette.

While distributing food, we asked the victims 'What do you need?' and they told us 'I am worried because I don't have any summer clothes' and 'I need a broom and a dustpan.'

We feel that we are getting closer to the victims whom we see everyday. We think it's better to continue volunteer work for at least a week rather than a day or two."

There are people who also participate in mud and sludge removal in between soup kitchen volunteer work.

"At first, we thought of using vehicles and machines to speed up mud and sludge removal, but nowadays we are changing our attitude thinking that maybe it's good to have more conversations with residents while working.

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Volunteers of barbers and hairdressers joined us today (April 20th) to offer their services. A temporary salon was set up in the neighboring factory, and already eight people received the services. A man was promoting the service to his friends by showing his 'handsome look', and a woman came to show us her hair cut which she received for the first time since the earthquake.

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There are many young volunteers coming from all over the country. One of the volunteers was told by a victim 'We are very happy to have people come for soup kitchen and sludge removal. We are also thankful for the parents who raised their children like this to come for volunteer work'."

The leader of the soup kitchen group, Mr. Koutaro, says that they are getting familiar with the work during the past week, but they would like to listen to the victims more and think of ways to meet their needs.

April 21, 2011 in Tohoku earthquake |