The widespread destruction in Japan from the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history and the tsunami that followed is far worse than anyone feared on Friday when last I wrote. People are still missing today, and may be missing forever.
I've spent some time on that side of the Pacific; six months in Okinawa, and while I know that Okinawans are not Japanese, the cultures and people are more similar than either want to admit (in sports terms, they're Red Sox (Okinawans) and Yankee (Japanese) fans). The Japanese seem stoic on the outside, but have a warm, welcoming heart, generous to respectful visitors in a way most other countries of the world aren't (think France, hah).
It is important to understand that these are people not so different from us, and that on the inside, they're exactly the same in every way: red blood and a heart to pump it.
I know it was most crucial in the first 48 hours to donate as much as we could to do the most good in the weeks that follow, but it never hurts to keep on donating now if you are able.
An even more crucial event has developed for the people of Japan, in that all this destruction has caused massive power outages, leaving containment down in their nuclear power plants.
And now, Japan is being hit by after shocks, causing more damage, more death, and making it harder for relief efforts already underway.
The easiest way is to donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
Another way is to head on over to www.redcross.org.
You can also donate $10 to the Salvation Army by texting JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888.
You can donate more than that amount by heading on over here.
There is also the global giving website here, where you can donate $10 or any amount.
Lastly, there is the Network for Good website, a site that allows you to find any particular charity you want and donate to them. I would bookmark this website to help with any of the charitable work y'all might want to do in the future.
One final plea: If you haven't donated yet, please, at least donate the $10 by texting, either to RedCross or the SalvationArmy. It is easy, it takes little to no effort, and it will actually help. If every person with a cell phone in America text-donated $10 to help for relief, that would be about 1.5 billion, yes, BILLION, dollars (250 million cell phones users, guessing 150 have texting).
It all adds up, and it all helps. Again, I am not a cause person. I'm not an ideological person. I'm just a person. These people need our help, and we cannot turn our backs on them in their time of need. Helping is the human thing to do.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for helping. Tomorrow brings back our regularly scheduled program.