Helping Japan: City starts fundraising efforts

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schwochow

Canisters like this will be at businesses throughout Wyandotte to collect money for the relief effort in Japan.

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — When Wyandotte Museums employee Sarah Schwowchow saw footage of the aftermath of the recent earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan, she knew she had to take action.

“You always want to help people,” Schwowchow said. “If it had been another country, I would have donated, but because we have such a close relationship with Japan, I wanted to do more.”

Wyandotte’s relationship to the country stems from its sister city, Komaki, Japan, a partnership that began in 1963.

The city was affected by aftershocks from the 8.9 magnitude quake and 23-foot tsunami that ravaged the country this month. Together, the disasters killed more than 9,800 citizens and left more than 17,000 missing.

In response, Schwowchow started a fundraising effort for the city. Collection containers began sprouting up in the city last week and now are at more than 30 local businesses.

After pondering a variety of possible collection methods, Schwowchow said she decided the containers would be the most convenient form for shoppers.

“A lot of people, when they go into a store, they just throw their change in there,” she said.

Larger donations can be submitted by check and money order payable to the American Red Cross and mailed or dropped off to the Wyandotte Museums Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The collection, a partnership with the American Red Cross, has received support from the City Council, which approved it March 14. The finalized details were announced at a March 21 council meeting. So far, the donations have been rolling in, Schwowchow said.

“It’s been going very well,” she said. “Even before I came back to council (on March 21), I already had people coming in and saying, ‘Can I donate?’ People were just so willing to help.”

Donations can be mailed to: The Wyandotte Museums, 2624 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte MI 48192.