Sachiko Draper helps with Japan disaster relief
When disaster struck earlier this year in Japan, Sachiko Draper, an IBO from South Carolina, did not waste any time getting involved. Right away she donated her bonus to the Amway Japan Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. [By the end of March, more than 4,000 Japanese distributors raised 71,413,674 yen which Amway Japan matched and helped distributors affected by the disaster.]
Sachiko felt a need to do more, so she started trying to contact distributors in the disaster area. Unable to contact anyone by phone, she was able to get email response from one distributor.
The distributor, a mother with a 6-month-old child, who lived on the outskirts of Fukushima’s evacuated area shared with Sachiko that they had been instructed to stay in their home to avoid contact with radiation – the nuclear plant was only 25 miles away. This meant they couldn’t make their daily outings to the grocery store for food items and baby formula. And, if they could have, they would have found the store shelves empty because supply trucks coudn’t make it through because of damaged roads, lack of gasoline, and the radiation threat.
The young mother shared that she was out of baby formula and there were many other mothers in the area going through the same dilema. Sachiko didn’t think twice, she immediately went out and bought a case of baby formula and shipped it to Japan. She had no way of knowing if the package would actually make it to the young woman, but she believed it would, and it did.
Back in Japan, the young mother was contacted by the local post office letting her know she had a package. Not knowing what it might be – Sachiko didn’t let her know in case the package didn’t make it and she didn’t want to create another disappointment for an already devasted community – the young mother checked the wind to make sure it was blowing radiation away from where she would need to travel by bicycle to pick up the package. Amazingly the post office was willing to deliver mail by bicycle, but they couldn’t deliver packages. Sachiko received a grateful email from the young mother thanking her for the formula and telling how it was being shared among all the mothers.
Inspired by this first success and encourage by mentor Paul Pecukonis, Sachiko didn’t stop. She began collecting items and shipping supplies that the Japanese people desperately needed: mainly rice and batteries. She shipped 25 boxes of care packages with food and batteries to friends and family who are Amway distributors also.
Soon after, Sachiko sent 22 care packages to her home town Saitama where 1,400 Futabamachi evacuees were living in the old high school. Sachiko shared that many of these people left everything in their homes when they evacuated. They thought they would only be gone for a few hours or a day, but in reality they have lost everything. Her heart especially goes out to the children. “Many of the children have lost a family member, a pet, all their belongings, and their home. I wanted to do something to make it better for them.” And she did.
Most of the shelters were only accepting items from the major organizations, but she was able to contact the Saitama shelter director and learn how she could send items they could use immediately. Each care package would need to be itemized in Japanese, carry the same products, and be individually wrapped new items. Sachiko shared her inspiration to help these people with others in her U.S. hometown and soon received money ($5,500) and support. Her Jazzercize facility donated space to put packages together and her classmates helped her pack boxes. Soon the 22 boxes were on their six day journey to make a difference.
Sachiko’s efforts helped bridge the gap of immediate needs for many, while the people waited for major organizations to be able to help.
Sachiko says she receives calls, letters, and email everyday thanking her, and most of the people can’t believe that people on the “other side of the earth” would take the time to help. Sachiko shares that the Japanese people are trying to “get back to normal” and having their rice supply restored is helping. “Rice is a lifeline for the Japanese people, like bread for Americans.”
Watch Sachido’s interviw on WYFF4.