Direct Relief International

We’re donating half of the money raised by our bake sale to Direct Relief International (the other half of our profits will be donated to JEARS, as described in this post).

Direct Relief is a non-profit organization that provides medicine, supplies, and equipment to assist those affected by disaster, poverty, and civil unrest around the world. Partnering with the Japanese American Citizens League, Direct Relief has created the  Japan Relief and Recovery Fund, which will be used solely and exclusively for the relief and recovery efforts in Japan.

As of now, Direct Relief is still determining the extent of need in Japan. Although they note that Japan is a richer, more well-developed country compared to many locations of the most recent large-scale disasters (e.g., Haiti), Japan will still have needs that Direct Relief is suited to assist with.  They have already provided funds for emergency materials for thousands of displaced persons in 20 facilities throughout Miyagi prefecture. Additionally, they have granted $400,000 to the Association for Aid and Relief Japan, a nonprofit group providing relief services for the elderly and disabled in Japan. According to a statement made by Direct Relief on their Facebook page, this grant was used to supply the following:

  • 3,600 liters of Diesel
  • 3,200 liters of Kerosene
  • 6 tons of Water
  • 1,000 Blankets
  • 3,400 Sleeping bags
  • 3,000 Nutraceutical Food Items
  • 2 tons of Fruit
  • 660kg of Rice
  • 18,000 Pairs of Underwear
  • 5,000 Masks
  • 17,000 Diapers
  • 7,000 Sanitary Goods
  • 4,000 Disposable body warmer
  • Others (milk, tea, freeze dried food, batteries, stationeries, etc)

With the help of you, we hope to raise a lot of money for both Direct Relief and JEARS this upcoming Saturday (April 2nd) at the bake sale. We hope to see you there!

(PS: To see some really awe-inspiring satellite photos of Japan before and after the disaster, check out this recent New York Times post.)

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A glimpse at Japan’s animals: Cat Island

As I’ve mentioned before, the purpose of our bake sale is to raise some much-needed donations for the people and animals who have been affected by the disaster in Japan. We will be splitting all of the profits from the bake sale 50/50 between two organizations who are already busy providing ground relief in Japan: Direct Relief International and the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS) coalition.

Photo of Japan’s Cat Island. From Virusog’s Live Journal

As a self-proclaimed cat lady, the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami left me concerned about the fate of Tashirojima Island–more commonly known as Cat Island.  It’s a small island inhabited by more cats than people. Although initial rumors claimed that the island may have been submerged underwater, it is now known that the island has survived the tsunami with minimal loss of life. Last Sunday (March 20th),  JEARS made the following statement about Cat Island on their Facebook page:

GREAT NEWS! I just got through to a representative at an NPO called ひょっこりひょうたん田代島 (Hiyokkori Hyoutan Tashirojima) on the land phone, and “Everybody, humans and animals, is safe”. He said that it is the areas in Ishinomaki that needs more help now! Food, water, everything is sufficiently supplied. It is the electricity that is still needed on the island. The kitties are all safe. With the kind of purity and reverence the residents have for our beautiful feline friends, the cats are being well taken care of by these beautiful people. I am so happy! This is direct from someone on the island. Safety confirmed!

However, food and supplies have started to run low, and JEARS has been trying to get helicopters to take cat food to the island (alongside the supplies for people that were being sent). By Wednesday (March 23), JEARS provided the following English translation of an article in Mainichi News, Japan:

In the morning of March 22nd, ASDF helicopters landed on a remote island, Tashirojima, which air route, only way to access other places, was cut off after the earth quake. In Tashirojima, 80 % of the total population, 73 people, are older than 65 years. After about 1 week after the quake, emergency supplies started to arrive in the island. On 22nd, 800 kilo-litters of gasoline and kerosene, food for 100 meals were delivered along with satellite phones that will enable the residents to communicate with hospitals to ask help for acute sickness/injuries. SDF personnel says that relief teams are usually supposed to be able to reach all parts of affected area within a couple of days after disasters. Emergency materials finally started to get across affected areas. On Tashirojima island, younger residents of the island, although they are already in early 50s, carried and distributed the aid supplies with SDF.

JEARS has promised to continue to monitor the needs of the cats on Cat Island in order to see if cat food can also be transported to the island and will post updates on their Facebook page. If you would like to hear more about what JEARS is doing, would like to donate, or are in Japan and would like to serve as a foster parent for rescued pets, check out their Facebook page.

Here’s some more images of Cat Island, just because the internet can never have enough cats:

Photos from Virusog’s Live Journal

Apparently the fisherman and the kitties get along pretty well:

We’re selling Vegan Sweet Tooth’s desserts!

Wow–I really thought I was done announcing bakeries that are donating to the bake sale, but I was wrong! Vegan Sweet Tooth generously contacted me yesterday to see if they could donate to our cause. Vegan Sweet Tooth is a new vegan speciality sweets shop located in Chagrin Falls that offers gluten-free and diabetic-friendly desserts.

Photo by Vegan Sweet Tooth

Although they are slated to open their first storefront in Eton Plaza (in the middle of the mall) as soon as the construction is finished this spring, they’re already filling orders.  Anyone with a sweet tooth has the option of either picking up their orders at 87 WestWine Bar or having the order delivered for a small fee.


Photo by Vegan Sweet Tooth

Their website offers tons of decadent desserts, including cakes, pies, cheesecakes, and cupcakes. Vegan Sweet Tooth also offers seasonal varieties, including the current Irish Princess (a chocolate cupcake infused with whiskey simple syrup, and topped with vegan “Bailey’s” Irish Cream frosting) and the Shamrock Cupcake (a vanilla cupcake filled with shamrock green frosting and topped with St. Patrick’s day sprinkles).  If you don’t see your dream cake combination on the menu, not to worry–you can create your own using their online order form!


Photo by Vegan Sweet Tooth

At the bake sale, we’ll be selling several of their mini cheesecakes, including a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, a Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, and Vanilla Bean Mixed Berry Cheesecake.  Stop by and try them all!


Photo by Vegan Sweet Tooth

Thanks for helping us, Vegan Sweet Tooth!

Calling all West Side Bakery fans!

Great news!  For the second year in a row, the award-winning West Side Bakery will be donating some of their AMAZING vegan cakes for our fundraiser!  The West Side Bakery is well-known around Akron for their beautifully designed and delicious wedding cakes, but they also offer several other goodies, including speciality trays, cookies, favors, and cupcakes.  We couldn’t be more grateful for their generosity (and for their seriously mad baking skills).


Photo by Len Cooper

Their special-order vegan menu boasts everything from cake and tiramisu to key lime tarts and baklava. The bakery also offers several daily vegan options that are always a hit. In addition to their bakery options, West Side Bakery also carries several daily lunch options, including sandwiches, salads, soups, and wraps.

We’ll be selling their single-serving cakes at the bake sale, but get there early because these guys are sure to sell out quickly!


Photo by Len Cooper

The West Side Bakery is located in Pilgrim Square at 2303 West Market Street, Akron, Ohio 44313.

Our Newest Partner: Empowered Chocolate!

Well, it’s certainly been an exciting week!  We are very pleased to announce that Empowered Chocolate will be donating items for the bake sale!

Image by Empowered Chocolate

Located in North Canton, Empowered Chocolate uses only certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and raw chocolate. Their products appeal to both the health-conscious as well as to those who are just looking for a rich dark chocolate treat. Because their main ingredients are simply cocoa powder, coconut butter, cacao butter, and agave nectar, the flavors of the chocolate are able to truly shine.

Their products include four flavors of Simply Chocolate Bark, six varieties of Loaded Chocolate Bark and seven varieties of Chocolate EmpoweredCups. Try them out at the bake sale and help support the animals and people in Japan!

A big THANKS goes out to Pure Delite!

We are pleased to announce that Pure Delite has agreed to donate some of their vegan cupcakes for the bake sale!!!  Pure Delite is a “Guilt-Free Cupcakery” in Fairlawn.  Their cupcakes contain less than half of the calories, sugar, and fat of a regular cupcake–but with all of the flavor.  Obviously, this means you are totally free to reach for that second cupcake–at least that’s my logic.

Photo by Pure Delite

Pure DeLite uses only organic and locally-produced ingredients. Their website lists countless inspiring cupcake varieties, including everything from your standard Vanilla DeLite cupcake to Caramel Macchiato, French Toast, Blackberry Peach Cobbler, Ice Cream Sundae, and even Sangria (for the over-21 crowd).  Any of their flavors can be made vegan, sugar-free, or gluten-free.  To see their daily offerings, visit their Facebook Page.  Come out and try their cupcakes at the bake sale!

Photo by Pure Delite

(Seriously. Who wouldn’t want a tiger cake for their birthday?)

Pure Delite is located in the Merchant’s Square Plaza at 125 Ghent Rd., Fairlawn, OH 44333.

Download the bake sale poster.

Help us spread the word! Click here to download and print the bake sale poster.