May 2011


One day as a volunteer – deliveries

The distribution of hot meals by Peace Boat is carried out in coordination with a number of other organizations conducting the same service. Meetings are held between the groups to determine how many meals need to be distributed to which area.
The ‘delivery team’ is then responsible for the safe distribution of the prepared food.

On the day of this post, 1000 meals prepared by the Kitchen team were to be distributed throughout 8 areas in the region, along with other relief goods.

The Delivery Team is also responsible for distributing relief goods to various areas as well. Items needed as per the requirements of each area are collected from the stock kept in storage, loaded onto cars and trucks, then distributed.
Members of the Delivery Team must continuously be aware of what items are required in which specific area, along with what is available at any given time from the stock of relief goods.

Once the relief goods are loaded onto the vehicles, the food is next. Today, the required total of 150 meals of hot food are being delivered to the region of Sakata.

To ensure that the meals can be distributed immediately upon arrival, signs are prepared in advance to inform people of the day’s menu and the available relief goods.

The group arrived at Sataka around twenty minutes after departing from the Senshu University campus in Ishinomaki by car.
As this was during the long public holidays, the road was quite crowded, making the travel time longer than usual.
Distributions in Sakata are made in front of a shop, upon the generous offer of use of space by the owner.
Upon arrival, the volunteers set up the area to be able to distribute the hot meals and other relief goods.

Together with a list of what is available, the items are laid out according to type, to make it easier for the local residents to select what is needed. Today, items on offer included canned sardines, cabbages, rain boots, towels, blankets, sanitary items and more.

Volunteers also walk around the local area to inform residents that the meals and relief goods are now available, friendlily calling to let them know the items and location.

Upon this notice, local residents start to arrive.

“Oh, you have gum boots? That’s a great help, as we are now cleaning the debris around our house. Do you still have size 24cm?”
“You can never have too many towels – thank you, we will take some.”

This time also provides an opportunity for local residents to meet, some for the first time in a long time, and exchange information about their situations and advice.

The volunteers also use this time to ask the community of any particular needs, which are recorded and reported back to the headquarters to prepare for the next visit to the community.

The owner of the shop shared with volunteers that “this whole area was badly destroyed by the tsunami. The majority of the population are staying in evacuation centres. But lately people are starting to come back to try to clear up their houses.”

A lot of time is still required until this area fully recovers. It is still not known when gas will be returned, water is provided through delivery by trucks, and while electricity has been returned to some houses others are still a long way away.
There is also a great need for meals to be provided, and the 150 meals delivered on this day were all distributed within an hour.

The delivery team volunteers also chat with local residents during this time, exchanging information about themselves and everyday things such as the meals.