December 8, 2011
Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union and Peace Boat volunteers serving hot meals in Ishinomaki in May 2011.
Pal System has been carrying out relief activities since soon after the disaster.
As materials and tools necessary for volunteer activities were in severe shortage, and securing stable cooking ingredients was difficult even in Tokyo, the cooperation of Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union and its nation-wide network was a great support for Peace Boat.
In addition to cooperation in the provision of meals, staff members of Pal System Tokyo and Kanagawa have been dispatched to Ishinomaki every week since July. They have been involved in disaster relief volunteer activities such as mud removal and cleaning activities. By the end of November, approximately 180 people were dispatched through Pal Sytem Tokyo alone! Having two dispatching system patterns (Monday – Wednesday and Thursday – Wednesday), the activities were arranged to avoid weekends on which volunteers tend to concentrate, also very helpful in the field.
Pal System Tokyo recently joined Peace Boat in cleaning activities of the Maruto Takahashi Tokuji Shoten, for a particular reason (for photographs of the fire lighting ceremony which took place there recently, please click here).
Maruto Takahashi Shoten has been in business for 108 years. It is an old store, that has continued to make natural pastes without any preservatives for the past 31 years. Pal System, a cooperative that emphasises food safety, had actually been purchasing their food from even the earthquake. But after the disaster, two factories in the city suffered great damage, and Maru Takahashi Shoten was forced to cease service at one point, thus Pal System also had to stop the sale of their products.
On October 1, part of Takatoku Shoten’s production line was restored. As a result of the ongoing cleaning activities at the second factory, Maruto Takahashi Shoten’s “Ebishinjo surimi (minced prawns)” have now finally been brought back to Pal System’s product line! They also plan to bring back their featured product, “Otofuage (fried tofu).”
Through a project entitled “Reconstruction Assistance Project,” a portion of the sales will go directly to Maruto Takahashi Tokuji Shoten, as a reconstruction assistance endeavour of Pal System combining both corporate volunteers and the primary business of selling food produce.
Support through eating – that is something we can do even without directly going to the affected areas.
There is much that can still be done no matter where we are.
Photos: Pal System Tokyo, Suzuki ShoichiTAGS: cleanup • Disaster Relief • Earthquake • food provision • Ishinomaki • Japan • Kanto-Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami • mud removal • Pal System • Peace Boat • peaceboat • Relief • Tsunami • Volunteer • volunteering • Volunteers