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Five Things to Know Today, March 16

In today's column, we interrupt your regularly scheduled "Things to Know" column with five ways to help the relief effort in Japan.

By now, you've surely heard that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 40 miles off the cost the northeastern coast of Japan late last week, taking down buildings and sending a huge tsunami onto the shore. With thousands and thousands either killed, injured, displaced, or in the radiation warning zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the country will take years to recover from the fallout.

Even though Japan is about 10,000 miles from Wakefield, MA, there are still several ways to contribute to the relief effort. In fact, some organizations make donating as easy as sending a text:

1. The American Red Cross International Relief Fund: Click here to donate, (or text REDCROSS to 90999 from your cell phone to automatically donate $10).

2. Global Giving: This Washington D.C.-based organization raises money for causes, which it then distributes to other organizations actually on the ground in affected areas, such as the International Medical Corps, Save the Children, etc. Donate here.

3. The Salvation Army: This organization has had a relief base in Tokyo since the 19th Century and is mobilizing to get supplies and relief teams to the affected areas. Click here to donate, or text the words "Japan" or "Quake" to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

4. Socks for Japan - If you want to send some relief without sending money, an American author living in Japan is seeking donations of socks. "There are many places to donate money, and that’s a wonderful thing to do, but direct aid is also cherished by victims," author Jason Kelly wrote on his website. See the site for specific instructions.

5. Make your donation count: When you're trying to select a charity from a long list of many, be sure to take care in picking which one. It's sad to say, but scammers often prey on the generous. Read these tips to ensure  your donation gets to the right place.

Clawsywp March 31, 2011 at 09:33 PM
I donated to JEARS Japan Emergency Animal Rescue. They are helping both humans and animals, making sure people dont have to lose their pets by looking after peoples pets who cannot take care of them whilst having to live in emergency shelters, rescuing abandoned and distressed animals, supplying food for peoples animals, treating injured animals for people. I think they do a wonderful job for both animals and people.

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