Japanese OCC students set up relief effort

COSTA MESA — In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, well-meaning friends and professors have asked Orange Coast College student Yuji Yoshida about his family's welfare back home.

Yoshida, 28, said he appreciates the emotional support, but kind thoughts and prayers alone aren't enough.

"Some people ask me about how to donate," Yoshida said. "I have not yet seen a person donate in front of me."

He and about 30 other Japanese students at OCC are encouraging people to send relief supplies to Japan.

Yoshida said his friends and family are all right, but his hometown of Yokohama needs food and other emergency supplies.

The group of Japanese students banded together immediately after the twin disaster of a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami, Yoshida said.

With the help of campus clubs, the group runs a Japan relief effort information booth at club events, where students or other visitors can find out more about how to help.

While the group's main purpose is to start a chain reaction of people spurring one another into action, the group will accept donations that will be delivered to the American Red Cross.

"[An] idea is not worth [something] until you share it with people," Yoshida said. "If you change your posture, probably your friends will change their posture, too."

The group is organizing a Japan benefit bake sale Friday with OCC's Hospitality Club. With the International Business Club, the group will also set up an information booth from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 6 in the campus's main quad, and with the College Life Committee at 6 p.m. April 7.

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