Japan: Handmade Tote Bags Please Survivors

AAR Bags Popular with Children and the Elderly

While engaging in relief efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake, AAR JAPAN was often told that the survivors needed small tote bags to carry their belongings. Many people had lost everything in the earthquake and tsunami, and small bags are convenient both for organizing belongings in shelters and for carrying relief supplies. In response, we called for volunteers to help make and donate tote bags for people in Tohoku, collecting roughly 5,000 bags in a very limited time.

To each tote bag, AAR JAPAN has been attaching a strap featuring our mascot, a stuffed rabbit named “Sunny-chan”, as well as including letters from the bags’ makers. To date, we have distributed roughly 4,000 bags to survivors in facilities for the elderly, evacuation shelters, and soup kitchens, where they have been well-received. The remaining 1,000 bags are already reserved, and we plan to send them in the near future. We heartily thank everyone who has supported this project.

“There’s also a letter in the bag!” At an intensive-care nursing home in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture. At left is Nahoko MIYAMOTO of AAR JAPAN.

July 28th - “Sunny-chan is cute!” The colorful bags are also very popular with children. This picture was taken at a day-care center in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.

July 16th - The pile of bags quickly disappeared. This picture was taken at a soup kitchen in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture. At right is Haruka HINOSUGI of AAR JAPAN.

The recipients are pleased at not only by the bags, but also by the thoughtful letters inside.

August 15th - Tote bags were distributed in a shopping center constructed from container houses in the disaster zone. This picture was taken in Onagawa Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

July 23rd - “Bye-bye and thank you!” At a soup kitchen in Miyako City, Miyagi Prefecture. At right is Haruka HINOSUGI of AAR JAPAN. 

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