Wednesday 13 July 2011
Bloggers raise over $71,000 for ShelterBox disaster relief in Japan and throughout the world
On March 14, just days after a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan, Lydia Yeung of wedding blog, Ever Ours, and Lucia Dinh Pador and Henny Vallee of e-magazine, Utterly Engaged partnered to create a fundraising campaign—“For Japan with Love,” to honor the victims of the disasters.
After seeing photos and videos of the devastation in Japan, the group took action by encouraging support from their friends, family and fellow bloggers.
“We are not ones to sit and not do something about this,” said Yueng. “As much as we’d like to hop on a plane and fly on over there to help with the search and rescue, we knew we could make a huge impact from here in our own community because of the dire need for emergency shelter.”
The group chose to work with ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity that provides emergency shelter and life-saving equipment to families displaced by disaster.
After creating a fundraising page to spread awareness about their cause and to collect donations from the online community, the group named March 18 the “Bloggers Day of Silence.” They asked fellow bloggers to, rather than write a blog post that day, encourage their readers to make a donation to ShelterBox to help reach their goal of raising $5,000 to sponsor five ShelterBoxes for families who lost everything in the disasters.
They used social media—Facebook and Twitter (@UtterlyEngaged, @ever_ours, @shelterboxus, #forjapanwithlove) to promote their campaign, which immediately went viral. More than 1,200 bloggers worldwide participated in the day of silence and helped to raise more than $55,000 within days for ShelterBox’s relief efforts, surpassing their initial goal by 10,000 percent.
“’For Japan with Love’ started as an idea and a hope that we could just raise a little awareness in our corner of the blogging world, but it escalated to something so much more,” said Vallee.
Further, Yasmin Zialcita Ali of Floral Theory, Erin Taylor of Bustle and Heritage & Craft, Jacin Fitzgerald of Lovely Little Details, and Hazel Bouget of Blu Bungalow hosted a charity benefit in San Francisco to support “For Japan with Love.” The benefit had over 30 sponsors providing silent auction items and activities, including a station where attendees could create postcards for the victims of Japan and construct origami cranes to send a message of hope.
“We believe awareness within the community has helped us to accomplish and exceed our goals,” said Pador. “Awareness of what was needed for Japan. Awareness that if we all come together, we can make an impact.”
Yeung, Pador and Vallee have started Phase Two of the campaign to continue supporting ShelterBox’s mission of providing shelter, warmth and dignity to survivors of disasters all around the world.
“We can’t thank everyone enough,” added Yeung. “Their huge hearts and efforts made this possible.”
“Don’t be afraid to make a difference. If you plant that seed with the intention to help, it will instantly grow into this massive tree that will move mountains and oceans,” added Pador.
The campaign has raised more than $71,000, enough to provide 71 ShelterBoxes for families in need.
The group’s efforts haven’t ended. E-magazine, UtterlyEngaged.com is holding a shopping event for readers called Fizz & Frills (www.fizzandfrills.com/shopevent) August 6 and 7 in San Francisco. Every dollar from ticket sales will benefit ShelterBox USA continue its disaster relief efforts around the world.
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