May 1, Sunday (Miyagi, Japan) — A convoy of six cars carrying 32 Food for Life volunteers left the Govindas kitchen in Tokyo at 3.50am to bring a freshly cooked lunch to three relief centres in the Miyagi district. Meals were provided for 726 survivors, as well as 50 local relief volunteers.
Photos by Mayumi Ishii
Hari-San and Manoj-San from the FFL Global affiliate, Govindas restaurant prepared the vegetarian curries for the distribution. Assisting them were Tapasvini Devi Dasi and Mrs. Akibasan who made cakes; local FFL volunteer coordinator Madhu Mangal Das who prepared a giant salad and Mrs. Purnim Shah who oversaw the making of 1100 masala paratha (flatbreads).
Other noteworthy volunteers were Vishvambar Das, as well as Anup Bhai, Jayesh Narula, Suresh Ji, Fujita-San, Kubota-San, and Alina Devi Dasi who partnered with Purnima Shah to provide all the vehicles. The volunteers covered all fuel and toll charges so that 100% of the donations could be used specifically for feeding people.
The previous week, Madhu Mangala and his assistant Fujita-San took extensive notes on how best to serve the survivors and this proved invaluable on Sunday. “It made the whole planning of our distribution very easy,” explained FFL Japan director, Shrikant Shah.
“The FFL volunteers worked so hard and gave their all,” said Shah. “And it was shown by how much the people loved the food we served.”
The local relief volunteers told the Food for Life team that they would not waste any of the food, and whatever was left over would be used for the next meal.
“The refugees were so happy that they applauded us after serving them,” explained Shah. “They were absolutely thrilled with the cakes. I got a call from the director of the Wataricho relief centre, Mr. Suzuki-San and he told me that ‘no one had ever brought them desserts before!’”
The Food for Life volunteers returned at 11 pm, after which FFL Yoga teachers, Purnima Shah and Ishigaki-San led all the volunteers through a breathing exercises and karada yoga. The team are currently preparing to visit again next Sunday.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
An enormous effort is involved in procuring, preparing, and distributing the food. Food for Life Japan is appealing for help with shopping, packing, cutting vegetables, cooking, and cleaning, as well as donations in-kind and/or cash. Local volunteer, Sanjiv Keswani made an appeal on behalf of the survivors, “Although many people have come forward to help FFL Japan, we still need a lot more support to continue. Please spread the word, but more importantly, please pray for the affected. Sincere prayers are mightier than the greatest Tsunami and will always help,” he pleaded.