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Maddie Mamoudis '27

May 3, 2024

On Saturday, April 13, Mercersburg’s Japanese students held an event to raise money for the Red Feather Central Chest of Japan. The evening involved selling food in the Simon Student Center. All proceeds went to the organization, raising money for families impacted by the most recent earthquake which occurred on January 1, 2024.

Fundraiser organizer, Cocona Yamamoto ‘25, spoke passionately about the planning. “It was a long process, we had to write a proposal and the proposal had to be approved by several committees so that took a while.” Efforts to create the fundraiser began at the beginning of the winter term, but it was difficult to proceed due to scheduling. Director of Community Engagement Emily Parsons said, “It took a while to get done, so I was proud of her for sticking with it.” According to Karin Sugiyama ‘27, “Cocona made everything possible.”

The earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale, causing hundreds of people to pass away and leaving thousands in shelters.  “Cocona did a great job; she saw a need in her home and decided to do something about it,” said Parsons. “She came to me wanting to do a fundraiser to help with the earthquake victims in January.” Sugiyama commented further, “The fundraiser was also to raise awareness about the natural disasters that happen in Japan because Japan’s a place where natural disasters occur a lot.” 

The Central Chest of Japan aids in disaster and social relief and is currently helping those harmed by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. They provided immense support for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, contributing a significant amount of money. That earthquake had a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale, caused a deadly tsunami, and damaged a nuclear reactor. The Central Chest of Japan has been operational for 77 years, and donations have totaled JPY 950 billion (which is approximately USD 6 billion).

Elie Shimaoka ‘26 said, “I personally experienced the 2011 earthquake; it affected me quite a lot. I had to leave Japan for a while due to radiation, so I really wanted to help others going through similar experiences.” 

The proceeds from the event came from snack and crepe sales, each purchase representing a small gesture of solidarity with those impacted by the earthquake. Yamamoto said, “I told everyone [involved with the fundraiser] to buy snacks from Japan, and those were the snacks we sold during the fundraiser.” Overall, Yamamoto’s event showcased compassion and altruism, earning a total of USD 880 for the organization. 

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