In Japan, more than 9,000 miles away from Three Village, relief efforts are well underway as the country embarks on a journey full of rescue, recovery and rebuilding after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and 23 foot tsunami ravaged the country earlier this month. Here in Three Village, that’s being recognized.
“All those people lost everything in a matter of seconds ... I had to do something,” said Mary Jo Peritore, founder of MerCurios Jewels. “I decided to help in the only way I could think of – with my time and my art.”
She began selling handmade rings through her Three Village-based business, with 100 percent of the profits going to the "American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Efforts."
The two rings she created are specially designed for the Japan relief efforts and are engraved with an inspiring saying. “Hope Strengthens.” Versions are available in English and Latin. You can purchase this ring online for $35.
Peritore is no stranger to helping people. Earlier this year she began selling rings to benefit Queensland Flood Relief efforts after the flooding in Australia. So far, money raised for the Australia floods by MerCurios Jewels totals $375.
Meanwhile, at , many students, faculty and staff have close ties to Japan. In fact, at the time of the earthquake and tsunami there were six Stony Brook students studying abroad in Japan, all of whom are OK.
But, because of those close ties with the disaster-stricken country, there are already several events planned that will pay respect to victims of the tragedy as well as provide support to members of the campus community personally affected by the disaster.
To support the recovery going on in Japan, the university placed collection boxes in various offices and locations on-campus to benefit to the Earthquake Relief Funds established by the American Red Cross and the Japan Society.
“An overwhelming number of students, faculty and staff contacted us eager to help in whatever way that they can,” said Jeffrey Barnett, Stony Brook's assistant dean of students. “Our hearts are warmed by the sense of community, kindness and care that members of the campus have demonstrated towards each other.”
If you're on the Stony Brook campus Wednesday, you can stop by a lecture by Prof. Dan Davis explaining what happened in Japan and why. It will be followed by a 2 p.m. fundraiser at the Wang Center featuring Taiko drumming and other musical performances, refreshments, and activities, coordinated by the university's Japan Center.
Professor Eriko Sato, who is also the executive committee chair for the Japan Center at Stony Brook, said the response from the university community has indeed been quick and compassionate, and she is grateful for the outpouring of support. Sato herself has relatives near Tokyo, who are safe. But she was unable to communicate with her mother in Japan for about 20 hours following the quake.
"This disaster was too enormous and surreal, and anyone who saw the photos and videos was stunned by the devastation," she said. "... I cannot stop thinking about those who lost their family and home, even when I am teaching in the classroom, but I believe that people can be strongest during the hardest times and that Japan will be a beautiful and peaceful country again, very soon.