Riverside Reaches $500,000 Goal to Help Quake Victims in Sendai

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Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge presents a check to Sendai Mayor Emiko Okuyama.

RIVERSIDE — Mayor Ron Loveridge visited Riverside’s Japanese sister city, Sendai, to hand a check for $500,000 to Mayor Emiko Okuyama.

The funds will be managed for the city by the Sendai Social Welfare Council.

Immediately after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the community of Riverside joined together to raise funds to provide direct assistance to their long-time sister city, setting a goal of $500,000. By the end of April, $510,091.46 had been raised by the community.

On May 5 and 6, Loveridge toured affected areas of Sendai, visiting with community groups including the Orange Club, the sister-city organization that is a counterpart to the International Relations Council of Riverside.

“I am proud to be a part of this caring community that has joined together to help friends across the globe in a time of desperate need,” Loveridge said before his departure.

Riverside officials visited an area devastated by the tsunami.

Accompanying the mayor to Sendai were Lalit Acharya, international relations officer; Riverside Unified School District board member Dr. Chuck Beaty; North High School Assistant Principal Rich Davis; Karla Adams, chair of the International Relations Council of the Riverside-Sendai Committee; and Yoko Boucher, co-chair.

About 4,000 people donated amounts varying from $5 to $10,000. The city kept the Sendai Relief Fund open through the end of May and will send a supplemental check at the close of the campaign.

Contributions are fully tax-deductible. To view the list of donors or to make a donation, visit the website at www.riversideca.gov/sendairelief. For additional information, call (951) 826-5311.

Sendai became Riverside’s first sister city on Dec. 10, 1957. Over the past five decades there have been museum, citizen, youth, and governmental exchanges between the two cities. In 2007, on the 50th anniversary of the relationship, Sendai gave Riverside the gift of a Japanese garden at White Park. Riverside’s gift to Sendai was a giant orange sculpture that commemorates the citrus heritage of Riverside as well as the historic ties between the two cities.

A flag signed by well-wishers in Riverside was presented to the City of Sendai.

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