At Soup Kitchens, Happy Faces and Calls for Seconds!

Heartwarming Stew

April 5th - Delivering beef stew to more than 400 people at Utatsu Junior High School, which is being used as an evacuation center in Minami-Sanriku Town.

In addition to sending relief supplies to areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, AAR JAPAN is also working in coordination with the Peace Project to operate soup kitchens at evacuation centers in Miyagi Prefecture. The Peace Project is a charity program jointly organized by Ingram Co., Ltd. and AAR JAPAN, in which AAR JAPAN receives a portion of sales from various items bearing Ingram’s licensed “Peace Mark”.

On April 5th, AAR JAPAN’s Emergency Relief Team prepared approximately 500 servings of beef stew for people taking refuge in an evacuation center at Utatsu Junior High School in Minami-Sanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture. In addition to those living in the school, we called out to people still living in the surrounding houses, gathering together a total of over 400 people. Our beef stew had taken many hands and a full night to prepare, and it was well-received by the disaster victims, approximately 100 of whom came back for more helpings until they were fully satisfied.

April 5th - Children holding a cardboard sign that reads, “Thank you very much – Everybody at Utatsu Evacuation Center, Minami-Sanriku Town.”
After she had eaten, a 70-year old woman said, “I’m sad because I lost my house, but this stew has warmed my heart.”

A 60-year old man said, “I want people to see the situation here and inform as many people as possible.” He added, “It may take a long time, but in two or three years I’d like to invite all the people involved in the soup kitchen back to thank them.” Receiving these words of gratitude from the disaster victims was heart-warming for us all.

Asked what was now needed the most, a group of lively 15-year-old boys enjoying their stew answered, “Love.” When we told them that we had put lots of love into the stew, they declared in unison, “That’s why this is the best stew we’ve ever had!”

“I’m worried because I no longer have a home, but we’re getting through each day by making each other laugh and cheering each other up.” Hearing these words made us feel that we needed to keep sending even more support and even more smiles to the disaster victims.

April 5th – Many hands were involved in preparing the soup kitchen (Minami-Sanriku Town)
April 5th - Messages from disaster victims written on the Emergency Relief Team’s flag: “We’ll reopen the school for sure!”, “It was delicious! I’m really grateful for the meal.” (Minami-Sanriku Town)
April 9th - AAR JAPAN staff Yukako Niimi (left) with 2nd year high school students from the baseball team who helped with the soup kitchen (Wakabayashi Gymnasium in Wakabayashi District, Sendai City)
April 9th –Delivering around 235 meals of yakisoba noodles and fried chicken, we heard people comment happily, "It’s the first yakisoba noodles we’ve been able to eat since the disaster.” (Wakabayashi District, Sendai City)

 Yukako NIIMI, Emergency Relief Team