Japan, our thoughts and prayers are with you!

My heart goes out to those who are suffering from the terrible tragedy in Japan, as I know it also does those of you who take time to read my blog. I know many of you are wondering how you can help those in need right now, here is a list of agencies you can contact:

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American Red Cross: The American Red Cross is collecting text donations, according to Renee Kelly, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. To contribute, send a text with REDCROSS to 90999 and $10 will be donated to the relief efforts. (A similar initiative was hugely successful after the Haiti earthquake, raising more than $32 million.)

Shelterbox: Author Maureen Johnson has launched an online fundraiser for Shelterbox, collecting money for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. Johnson led a similar fundraiser for earthquake victims in New Zealand, raising more than $15,000. According to the organization’s website, Shelterbox is an organization that goes into areas of the world affected by disaster with large green boxes that contain shelters and the materials needed for people to restart their lives on some level. The boxes always include a top-quality tent, and they usually include stoves, blankets, water purification systems, and tools. This is true, life-saving stuff, hand-delivered by volunteers trained in survival techniques.

Save the Children: Save the Children says it is mobilizing global resources to respond to the needs of children and families affected by the earthquake and its aftermath. The organization’s website reports that an international emergency team has been dispatched to assist staff in Japan.

The humanitarian agency, which is based on Westport, Connecticut, says it has been operating in Japan for 25 years along with other Pacific nations impacted by tsunamis. Donors may make charitable contributions to the group’s Children’s Emergency Fund.

GlobalGiving: This Washington, D.C.-based group has launched the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. According to the organization’s website, it will disburse donations to groups providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations.

Update: By 1 a.m. EDT on March 13, the group had collected more than $300,000.

Convoy of Hope: Convoy of Hope, a global relief organization based in Washington, D.C., is accepting online donations. You can also text TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10 to the group’s disaster response efforts. According to the organization’s website, the Disaster Response team “has established connection with in-country partners in Japan who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance.”

Salvation Army: The Salvation Army, which has had a presence in Japan since 1895, says it is mobilizing relief efforts in response the earthquake. According to a spokeswoman, the Salvation Army in Tokyo is sending an assessment team to the city of Sendai to assess damage and will begin providing basic necessities, such as food and water, beginning as soon as March 12.

You can get more information on the organization’s website, Facebook page and on Twitter. Donations are being accepted by texting JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the group’s relief efforts.

Give2Asia: The Give2Asia Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund is raising funds to support immediate relief and short-term to long-term recovery projects undertaken by the affected communities. The organization said in an email that it is working with local advisors based in Tokyo to assess the current situation and to obtain more information on the needs of survivors.

Donations to the fund can be made online. For more information, contact info@give2asia.org.

International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps is mobilizing relief teams and supplies to respond to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. “We are communicating with local partners in Japan on the most pressing needs,” says Crystal A. Wells, a communications officer at the Santa Monica, California-based group. “We will be responding to needs on the ground, which may include sending supplies to local partners and/or deploying emergency response teams.”

People can help in the relief effort by visiting the organization’s website or texting MED to 80888 to donate $10.

Socks for Japan: American author Jason Kelly, who lives in Sano, Japan, is collecting socks for earthquake victims. He writes:

“All human beings are comforted by a fresh, clean pair of socks. Other advantages socks offer this operation: their sizes are easy, they don’t break, people need lots of them in disastrous times without running water, people can keep them forever and remember that somebody from far away cared. Please do not send any other items of clothing, food, etc. Just socks, but go ahead and choose nice ones that will brighten somebody’s day.”

Kelly has very specific guidelines for sock donations, such as putting socks of one type in a single package. He is also asking donors to include a care letter.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF: The organization is raising funds to help children in Japan impacted by the recent earthquake and tsunami. These may include health, development, protection and other needs that may have been compromised or disrupted in the wake of the catastrophe. To donate, text JAPAN to 864233 to donate $10 or visit http://www.unicefusa.org.

AmeriCares: AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medical assistance, is on the ground in Japan assessing the health and medical needs of survivors, says spokeswoman Courtney Ellison. Since its founding in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $10 billion in aid to 147 countries. To make a donation, go to http://www.AmeriCares.org or call 1-800-486-HELP.

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