Photos from the bake sale.

Many thanks to Rachelle and Celine from Humane Kind Photography for shooting our bake sale! I am drooling over everything all over again.

Also, check out Tofu’s blog for even more photos from the event!

VegiTerranean shirts for sale: Proceeds go to Japan!

VegiTerranean, Akron’s upscale vegan restaurant, donated three wonderful styles of their shirts for us to sell.  The shirts are all printed locally by Akron’s Rubber City Clothing and are all limited editions.  All proceeds will be split between JEARS & Direct Relief!  To purchase a shirt, follow the links below to eBay:

$15–VegiTerranean LIMITED EDITION Short-Sleeve Unisex Tee (Sizes S/M/L)
$15–VegiTerranean LIMITED EDITION Long-Sleeve Unisex Tee (Size Small ONLY)
$15–VegiTerranean LIMITED EDITION Cap-Sleeve Fitted Tee (Size Small ONLY)

PS: If the links expire, just search for “VegiTerranean Tee” on eBay and all 3 listings should pop up until we sell out.

$2921.50

This is AMAZING!  Thank all of you :D

Miss the bake sale? You can still help.

Wow–what a day! Thank you to all of you who came out today.  We were completely SOLD OUT by around 3pm (and to think that we were concerned about having too many leftovers…)! We are still adding up the donations, but we’ll post it here as soon as possible.

If you would still like to donate on behalf of the bake sale, please send your checks directly to JEARS and Direct Relief International. We would be happy to include your amount in our bake sale total if you let us know that you donated (to do so, please email Christina at cwhy1@hotmail.com). The mailing addresses for donations to JEARS and Direct Relief are as follows:

JEARS
PO Box 125
Alto, MI 49302

Direct Relief International
27 S. La Patera Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Lastly, our guest blogger Arwen Niles was kind enough to point out the following upcoming events that are benefitting Japan:

Tonight, Kent for Japan and Kent State International Mentors are hosting a night out in downtown Kent at the Stone Tavern.

There’s also a super-cool event called Jammies for Japan that will take place on Friday, April 8th that I hope as many schools as possible will join. The money for that will go to ShelterBox to help move some of the displaced people (and their pets!) out of the temporary shelters.

And there is a Japan Relief Fund set up through First Merit Bank for direct deposit. That money will go to JEARS and Second Harvest Japan, and depending on how the situation evolves, possibly Hope International Japan.

I’m off to the bake sale!

We can’t wait to start selling goodies today! We hope you’ll join us–we’ll be at VegiTerranean from 11am to 4pm selling tons of amazing treats.

 Before I head out, I wanted to thank our many volunteers who devoted countless hours to baking, organizing, publicizing, and soliciting donations!  We especially couldn’t have done this without Christina, Len, Amy, Kim, Aurora, Abby, Leah, Monica, Coda, Susan, Chris, Tiffany, Mo, Michelle, Leah, Justin, Olivia, Kim, Kevin, Scarlet, Arwen, Jared, Sylvia, Jim, Rachelle, Colleen, Tofu666, Paula, Laura, Mike, Mike & Deborah, Celeste, Celine, Yoshie, Amanda, Kathy, Dan, Margarita, Meredith, Mary, Maria, Janaya, Nathan, Erin, Courtney, Karolina, Nick, Leah, Katie, Hether, & all of the girls at the NEO Roller Derby*!

And also, we owe a special thanks to the businesses that donated items to our bake sale!  West Side Bakery, Pure Delite, Empowered Chocolate, Vegan Sweet Tooth, Plant Kingdom, Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, Terra Bakery, Sustainable Inspiring Spaces,  Rudi’s Bakery, Vaute Couture, Pangea, Akron Aeros, Bright Idea Shops, and Plastic Lumber Company—we couldn’t have done this without you!

Lastly, a HUGE THANKS to VegiTerranean for allowing us to use their space for the second year in a row!

(*My apologies if I left anyone out–let me know if there’s anyone missing!)

Arwen Niles shares her experiences in Japan

Recently, I was contacted by Arwen Niles, who introduced herself to me as such:

I’m from Akron, but now live in Japan, just east of Tokyo. I moved there in 2007. I came back to the US on the 18th and will arrive in Akron on March 25th. My husband is in the Japanese Self-Defense Force and is now deployed in Fukishima, where the nuclear reactors are.

Arwen came back to Akron to try to get involved in as much fundraising for Japan as possible. I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post to share her experiences in Japan, and she obliged.  Here’s her story:

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Niles and her husband, Masanori, who is currently deployed in Fukishima (Image via Kazuhiro Nobi/AFP/Getty)

On Friday, March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake hit just off the coast of northeastern Japan. I was at home in my tatami room at 2:46 PM, and, like so many others, I knew from the first tremors that this earthquake was different. Instead of subsiding, the shaking grew more violent, gaining momentum and pitching things from shelves and cabinets. Gathered outside in the park for the next hour and a half, people knew there would be devastation—phone lines were out, buildings had caught fire, roads had buckled—but the extent of the tragedy has proved to be, quite literally, beyond the imagination. People outside of the coastal Tohoku areas watched helplessly as a tsunami bulldozed entire towns, smashing and splintering whatever it didn’t just swallow whole. And then, as if the tsunami and recurring aftershocks weren’t terrifying enough, news spread of the cooling failure and ensuing explosions at several units of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

It’s now been over two weeks, and while there have been amazing rescues and incredible sacrifices, the situation in Fukushima has not improved and almost half a million survivors and their pets remain displaced. Foreign media reports claiming nuclear meltdown, panic buying of dwindling supplies, and fraudulent aid organizations make it difficult for people to sift out reliable, useful information. Expats interviewed outside the worst-hit areas were re-contacted by the media and asked if they might be able to remember a few more tragic details. Stories from Tokyo, where people returned to a near-normal schedule as quickly as possible, were run alongside images of demolished coastal towns further north. The news showed shelves barren of some goods, while panning over that which was actually available.

Journalists warned of mushrooming scams fronting as charities, and advised an already nervous public to wait before donating, while bloggers opined on whether Japan was a country that truly needed or deserved assistance, questioning whether anyone needed to donate at all. The extent of damage, now estimated at over 310 billion dollars—making this the world’s costliest natural disaster—was downplayed, while the false belief spread that Japan is both a rich and selfish country that is entirely capable of rebuilding without anyone else’s help, thankyouverymuch. There have been multiple reports bemoaning refused aid and government red-tape, without noting that many countries share the same policies when it comes to accepting and allocating outside aid. Meanwhile, mentions of Japan’s development and relief work around the world are few and far between. These misunderstandings have resulted in just a fraction of the charitable giving seen immediately after both Hurricane Katrina and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake (roughly 10% according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University).

In fact, the Japanese and foreign communities in Japan took advantage of their local presence and adaptability to provide some of the first aid to reach affected areas. Through a network of volunteers, potential donors were able to quickly receive needs assessments and arrange for the distribution of supplies. One of the ad hoc organizations to arise from the disaster and coordinated relief efforts is Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS), a coalition of three long-standing, registered no-kill groups in the area: Japan Cat Network, HEART Tokushima and Animal Friends Niigata. (You can read a recent interview with Animal Friends Niigata founder Isabella Gallaon-Aoki, remarking on the need for a national animal welfare organization in Japan, here )

All funds received by JEARS go directly to animal search and rescue, food, shelter and treatment, and fostering and re-homing. JEARS is committed to keeping together or reuniting as many pets and people as possible, delivering animal supplies to shelters, hospitals and local citizens in tsunami-affected areas. For those animals who haven’t yet been reunited with their families, or who were left behind by people evacuating Japan, JEARS is also working with Animal Refuge Kansai to help set up a network of foster homes throughout the country.

While there have been many heartwarming stories of JEARS-assisted rescues and reunions, of particular interest to me is their commitment to the animals of Fukushima. My husband, Masanori, is in the Japanese Self Defense Force and has been delivering supplies and visiting residents just outside the 12 mile evacuation zone surrounding the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. He tells me about the animals still in the area, such as the thin, wild cats and the filthy dogs that run alongside SDF trucks as they leave. It’s true that there is still a lot of concern about going near the power plant and what to do with the animals found there, but according to David Wybenga, one of the founders of JEARS, while volunteers will not be pressured to go into these areas, food and supplies can be made available for others to pick up, and no animal will be euthanized simply for having been exposed to radiation.

Because JEARS is an organization that I personally support with both my own money and time, and one of the groups I had in mind when deciding to return to the US to help raise funds for Japan’s disaster relief, I was surprised and impressed to see that the people of northeast Ohio had already created an enjoyable—and delicious—event for me to join. I’m looking forward to being able to help people in my home in Japan by carrying out the work that’s being generously made possible by people from my home here in Ohio.

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Arwen Niles is an Akron native living in Japan. She’ll be at the bake sale (TOMORROW!) from 1 to 2pm to help sell goodies and talk about some of the other Japan fundraisers in the area. If you would like to get involved with any of her fundraising efforts, she can be reached at giving.japan@gmail.com.

A spotlight on two more of our bakeries

We have a truly impressive lineup of baked goods for Saturday (check out the preview here)!  Before I get involved in many hours of baking over the next few days, I wanted to share with you two more of our awesome bakeries that are donating to the event.

First, Terra Bakery is a dairy-free and delicious vegan bakery in Chagrin Falls that sells all kinds of desserts, including coconut cream pie,  maple “bacon” scones, Mexican chocolate snickerdoodle cookies, banana bread with cherries and walnuts, and brownies.  Check out their Facebook page to place an order with Lea!

Photo by Terra Bakery

Next up, we have Specialty Sweets by Molly, which offers vegan sweets, treats, and catering! Molly Aubochon, who earned second place in the Vegan Iron Chef challenge, creates all kinds of vegan, raw, and/or gluten-free items in Kent. Her menu boasts everything from entrees (such as potato and jalapeno enchiladas or tofu and veggie quiches) to soups (like butternut squash and coconut tofu) and of course, tons of desserts.  Many of her desserts can be found at the Kent Haymaker Farmer’s Market (which runs from May through October).

Photo via Specialty Sweets by Molly

In other news, have you seen Jonathan Mann and Ivory King’s new song, “Vegan Myths Debunked?” (Sample lyrics: “Where do you get your protein?” “Plants!” “Where do you get your calcium?” “Plants!”) It’s a part of Jonathan Mann’s on-going endeavor to write and sing one song a day.

Maybe we can get some of our bake sale girls to sing it on Saturday? You’ll have to come to the bake sale to find out!