By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
TORRANCE — Nine Torrance restaurants raised approximately $1,500 for earthquake/tsunami relief efforts in Japan during a two-month campaign organized by the Torrance Sister City Association.
Each Wednesday from May 4 to June 29, one of the restaurants donated a percent of its proceeds to support Torrance’s sister city in Japan. Participating restaurants were Pat and Oscar’s, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, The Loft, El Paso Cantina, Souplantation, El Torito, California Pizza Kitchen, Rsacals, and King’s Hawaiian.
Located in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, Kashiwa was not damaged during the earthquake, but it is trying to meet the needs of people from northeastern Japan who have lost their homes and their livelihoods.
“The restaurant fundraiser have been a great way for the community to participate in helping our sister city of Kashiwa,” said TSCA President Teri Kuwahara. “It has been especially great for our TSCA members and has become a weekly social event.
“TSCA wanted to assist our sister city of Kashiwa directly. We had received word they were providing relocation assistance and temporary housing for those displaced by the tsunami and nuclear problems to their north. Our counterpart, KIRA (Kashiwa International Relations Association), had to temporarily relocate their meetings when the public building they used was a temporary shelter for refugees.
“When we communicated with the Torrance Committee of KIRA that we were going to host these fundraisers and campaign, they were so happy.”
Jill Maroney, who coordinated the restaurant nights, noted, “Rascals has been especially generous, giving us 25 percent of profits, more than usual, from both locations.” The restaurant even made an additional donation to make the check come out to a “nice round number,” she said.
TSCA also raised more than $3,000 for Kashiwa at its 39th annual cultural event, Bunka Sai, on April 30 and May 1, and has been accepting donations online at https://torrancesistercity.org/Japan_Relief.html.
“The community has made direct contributions to our Japan Relief Fund totaling approximately $5,800 to date,” said TSCA Treasurer Cheryl Yamauchi.
Maroney said that TSCA members liked the weekly restaurant nights so much that they will continue to meet on a monthly basis. “Funds raised from the new monthly restaurant nights will go towards our yearly exchange program with our sister city. I believe that the weekly gatherings have strengthened our association by getting us together outside of the usual association meetings. We get to relax, learn a little more about our fellow TSCA members, and enjoy each other’s company, while at the same time helping our friends in Japan.”