Hoosiers Step Up Japan Disaster Relief Efforts

Area Fundraising Kicks In High Gear To Help Earthquake Victims

As the crisis in Japan intensifies, Hoosiers are stepping into action to provide much needed aid to the earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged nation.

Calls and inquiries have been steadily pouring into the offices of the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, where a spokesman said individuals are making donations, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported.

Local schools have launched fundraisers and companies like Dunbar, Cook and Shepard, an accounting firm, have kicked off employee campaigns.

"If we pay a minimum of $5, we get to wear jeans (on Friday)," said Eavan Shaw, a business consultant with the north side accounting firm. "Roughly two dozen employees haven't set a goal, but since Monday they have collected more than $1,000. The firm will match whatever the staff collects."

Red Cross officials said this is just one example of the outpouring of generosity to help those in need.

"It touches your heart. It's people who respond, humanitarians who care, people who understand the devastation," said Ann Gregson, manager of resource development at the Indianapolis office.

Gregson admits the response hasn't been a great as it was after the Haiti earthquake, but she believes that's because Haiti is closer and has closer ties with Hoosiers who spend time there doing missionary work.

Others believe that because Japan is considered a wealthier country than Haiti, residents don't need as much help.

"(Japan is) a very industrial nation with one of the richest economies, but they are hurting right now and we are happy to help people," Gregson said.

Hundreds of thousands of Japanese families are homeless since the country's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami last Friday.

The American Red Cross has raised about $47 million for the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response. The figure includes more than $2.6 million in text donations.