RIVERSIDE — On Monday afternoon, a gathering of over 100 business and community leaders convened at Riverside’s City Hall to discuss ways to help the City of Sendai, recently devastated in the wake of Japan’s worst disaster since World War II.
Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge said, “The past exchanges of friendship between Riverside and Sendai have been many, and they have been meaningful. If there ever was a time to extend our hand of friendship, that time is now.”
Dr. James Erickson, director of the Center for Philanthropy at La Sierra University, challenged each of those in attendance to call five people and ask for their help.
Another planning and coordination meeting will take place next Monday, March 21, at 3 p.m. at the Riverside City Council Chambers, 3900 Main St. The meeting will provide another opportunity for the community to offer input on fundraising and other relief efforts.
The city has launched a donation and informational website at www.riversideca.gov/sendairelief. Donations may also be made in person at the Mayor’s Office, located on the seventh floor of City Hall.
Donated funds will be held in a separate account designated for Sendai to be given directly to city officials there for their recovery efforts.
Dr. Lawrence Geraty, president of the International Relations Council, praised local leaders for joining together to help Riverside’s sister city. Sendai became Riverside’s first sister city on Dec. 10, 1957, making this relationship the oldest in the nation. 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 in Downtown Riverside. 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.
For additional information, call (951) 826-5311.
Those whose sister cities were affected by the earthquake and tsunami are asked to contact Sister Cities International at [email protected].