Even Chicago Residents Can Provide Japan With Some Relief

March 13, 2011

Everyone here at Chicagoland Real Estate Forum sends their well wishes to all those people in Japan who have just experienced unimaginable natural disasters.

After recording an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the biggest in the island nation’s history, followed by hundreds of aftershocks and a devastating tsunami, residents are now dealing with the risk of a nuclear meltdown.

Lady Gaga bracelet

For $5, you can get this Lady Gaga wristband. All proceeds will go directly to Japan relief efforts. Click the pic to buy.

The area is not even out of the storm, yet; experts are predicting the aftershocks to continue for weeks. And when it all dies down, it will take a ridiculous amount of resources to get Japan back on solid ground.

Officials are telling Americans to avoid travel to Japan, so what can we do to help from Chicago?

Here are some options that are as easy as pushing some buttons.

*HelpAttack! can turn your online posts into a donation. Through Twitter or Facebook, you sign up, pledge an amount for each update you post, then after 30 days, your credit card is charged with your donation. Pledges can be as little as 10 cents each.

The site is partnered with the Red Cross, which will heavily assist in the relief effort overseas. Visit for more information and to sign up.

*Your cell phone offers many opportunities to help.

~Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.

~Text “JAPAN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army.

~Text “JAPAN” or “TSUNAM” to 20222 to donate $10 to Save the Children Federation.

~Text “MERCY” to 25283 to donate $10 on behalf of Mercy Corps.

~Text “4JAPAN” or “4TSUNAMI” to 20222 for a $10 donation to World Vision, Inc.

*The non-for-profit Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago has set up a fund to help those affected by the nation’s tragedies.

All proceeds collected will go to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.

The JASC also offers Japanese-speaking social workers that can help Chicago residents cope with this tragedy.

For more information, visit

*If you have loved ones in Japan, now you can check on them for free thanks to Verizon and AT&T.

“Verizon is making calls to Japan free for most of our wireless and residential customers until April 10,” said Verizon spokesperson Carolyn Schaumburger. “Post paid customers will receive free text and multi-media messaging to Japan for the same time period.”

AT&T says wireless calls 60 minutes or less made from its U.S. customers to to Japan will be free until March 31.

* * *

Sadly, there are always those bad seeds out there that try to take advantage of desperate situations. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is warning Illinois residents to be careful to not get scammed by fund-raising con artists.

“Unfortunately, it’s common to hear of fraudulent charities taking advantage of people’s generosity amidst a tragedy such as this,” she said. “In the wake of this crisis, I want to urge Illinoisans donating to relief efforts to take the time to investigate before donating. Taking that extra step will help ensure your donations reach legitimate causes that will directly contribute to helping the victims of this disaster.”

Madigan suggests donors to contact the Charitable Trust Bureau to report suspicious charitable solicitations at (312) 814-2595.

For more information on donating safely, visit

Our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone suffering in Japan right now, as well as their friends and families around the world. We know Chicago residents will do what they can to help in this relief effort.

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