Efforts to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan are under way in the Bay Area’s two Japantowns.

In San Francisco, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) has received hundreds of calls from people wanting to know how they could help. On Friday, it established the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

All of the donations are going toward food, water, clothing, blankets and shelter supplies through the National YMCAs of Japan and other non-governmental organizations with which JCCCNC has had a relationship since the Kobe earthquake.

At this time, the JCCCNC is only accepting cash donations, which are tax-deductable to the extent of the law. It cannot accept goods or supplies.

In 1995, the JCCCNC raised over $600,000 towards citizen relief efforts for the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, which killed over 6,000 people and left over 300,000 people homeless. The donations received supported volunteer efforts to get food and water directly to the victims, provided clothing for those that lost their homes and essential supplies for women, children and especially seniors, and helped to rebuild orphanages in Kobe.

To donate, visit www.jcccnc.org, call (415) 567-5505 or send or hand-deliver checks to JCCCNC, 1840 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94115. Checks can be made out to: “Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.” All donations will be acknowledged.

The JCCCNC has also set up a Facebook Causes page that can be found by running a Facebook search for “Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.”

Also in San Francisco, the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) at Clarendon Elementary School, 500 Clarendon Ave., will put on a benefit concert Wednesday, March 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Proceeds will go to the JCCCNC’s relief effort.

The concert will feature a taiko performance by Melody Takata and Gen Taiko (including Clarendon students), singing by Clarendon students, a shamisen performance by Clarendon parent Koichi Sugiyama and friends, and a choral performance by San Francisco Forest Choir, Chorale May, and Ensemble Shiki. Children of all ages are encouraged to attend; child care will be provided.

The concert will be preceded by a potluck dinner. To sign up for the potluck, visit http://tinyurl.com/ClarendonCharityPotluck.

To sign up as a volunteer at the event, visit http://tinyurl.com/ClarendonCharityVolunteer.

Rosa Parks Elementary School’s Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program will hold its auction fundraiser, “Building Bridges,” on Saturday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the JCCCNC. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Donations to the JCCCNC’s relief fund will be collected.

For more information, call Nanayo Silver at (415) 749-3519 or visit www.jbbpsf.org/auction.

Aloha Warehouse, which is located in Japantown’s Buchanan Mall, is organizing a benefit concert featuring local Hawaiian singers, musicians and dancers, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 2. Organizers are seeking permission from the San Francisco Park and Recreation Department to hold the event in Japantown’s Peace Plaza.

For updates, visit the Aloha Warehouse page on Facebook.

In San Jose, the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose will host a vigil and fund drive in front of San Jose Buddhist Temple, 640 N. 5th St. (at Jackson), on Thursday, March 17, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Checks should be made out to “JCCsj” with “Earthquake/Tsunami Relief” on the memo line. All donations will go directly to relief efforts.

Those who cannot attend the vigil can send donations to: JCCsj, c/o Yu-Ai Kai, 588 N. 4th St., San Jose, CA 95112. For more information, email sanjosejtown@sbcglobal.net.

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