While Japanese resident Kuniaki Suzuki lives 150 miles from the epicenter of the March 11th earthquake, leaving him relatively unaffected by most of the destruction, his post-earthquake Twitter post led him to CannedWater4kids.
“One day after the earthquake, Lisa Thomas replied to my tweet on Twitter,” said Suzuki. “At that point we don’t know each other—and I tweeted in Japanese so I don’t know how she found me and replied, but Lisa and I had some conversations about earthquake after that. She has been very anxious about this earthquake and offered me to help if there were anything she could do.”
“One day last week I saw that the levels of radiation were rising in Tokyo and Kuniki sent a message saying that all the bottled water had been purchased,” said Thomas. “There was none. He described the situation as awful. I could tell he was distressed and I wanted to help.”
While the levels of radiation were not thought to be that harmful for adults, Suzuki had serious concerns about procuring safe drinking water for his three-year-old son as officials said tap water might be unsafe for young children and infants.
“People rushed to buy up bottled water and it was immediately sold out,” said Suzuki. “Water in vending machines was sold out, water in the supermarket was sold out, it was literally nowhere. And I didn’t have enough water stock for my three year old kid because it was too late when I noticed it. So I contacted Lisa on Twitter and told the situation. I didn’t expect any solution at that point but just wanted to tell her what happened in Japan, since she wanted to know it. Then, she told me to tell her the shipping address so that she could send water through cannedwater4kids.com, but as I myself wasn’t financially damaged by the earthquake, I ordered 24-pack canned water by myself.”
Thomas knew of Canned Water For Kids because she is opposed to the use of plastic water bottles.
“Our world is filling up with plastic,” said Thomas. “About a year and a half ago, I thought, ‘Why can’t they put water in cans?’ and one day I Googled “canned water”. That’s when I found CannedWater4kids. When Kuniaki said he needed water, I thought of CannedWater4kids. I knew there must be thousands of children in and around Tokyo who need clean drinking water right now, and Canned Water For Kids seemed like the right place to start, so I emailed Greg Stromberg (President and Founder of CannedWater4kids). Within a few minutes we were talking on the phone and trying to solve the problem.”
Upon receiving the order from Suzuki, Stromberg wanted to help. Stromberg said shipping on the single case of water Suzuki ordered cost $103 to ship to Japan, so he got in contact with Thomas who provided some donations to help with the shipping cost.
CannedWater4kids recently heard from Water.org who wants to get involved in getting more water to Japan.
“We want it to go to children in need,” said Stromberg. “Second Harvest works with the poor, homeless and orphanages in Japan. I don’t know how the heck we will get it there, but I know will find the donations to make it happen.”
CannedWater4kids is a 501 c3 non-profit initiative to generate awareness and fund projects to purify water for children in developing nations. It is estimated that 5,000 children die each day world-wide as a result of unsafe drinking water. Proceeds from CannedWater4kids are used to support numerous efforts to provide access to clean drinking water throughout the world; 95 cents of each dollar donated go directly to fund clean water initiatives across the globe. For more information go to. http://www.cannedwater4kids.org.