Weekend Links: Ways to help Japan

Instead of my normal, "hey how cool are these?" links, in light of the recent devastation Japan has experienced, I wanted instead to share unique ways to help helping.

My friend Neil Summerour developed SOGO Japan in order to give money directly to Japanese charities as opposed to outside sources. As Neil put it, “Money will not go to outside organizations looking in, but rather we will put it in the hands of the people who were there first, know the land, know the people and their actual needs.” $5 and $10 donations are appreciated, but if you donate $30 or $50 you'll also receive a copy of Neil's Angel Script Font.

Photographer Tex Jernigan took this photo as part of a collaborative series with Jared Wilson. The two of them will be installing large flags across the world beginning today, and you can purchase this print for $25. All proceeds go to the American Red Cross to help Japan.

Online retailer Alibaba is providing certain items to be purchased AT COST for those in need. (Alibaba will ship them to Japan free of cost to those in need.) Items include, tents, sleeping bags, blankets, flashlights, rain jackets, etc. Just make sure to put “Japan Earthquake Relief” as the address at checkout.

Designed by Max Erdenberger and printed by Steve Denekas and Walker Cahall, this poster is given to all who donate $25 to the Red Cross through W+K Studio's site.

This copper necklace was created by the father and daughter team wsake to represent the rising sun of Japan. 75% of the proceeds go to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief through the Japan Red Cross Society and the remaining 25% covers the production cost of the necklace.

Signalnoise is selling this print, of the rising sun "cracking," for $30. All proceeds will go to Japanese Disaster Relief.

All proceeds from this print (designed by Rob Dobi) will go to disaster relief as well.

yokomono studio is donating 100% of the proceeds from their Sankaku Sachets sales.

All proceeds from Daniel Freytag's print "Japan" will go to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Relief.

Bloggers around the world wanted to help too. Today is Bloggers Day of Silence. Hundreds of bloggers will not post, tweet, etc. today as a sign of respect for all of those affected by the disasters. Set up by UtterlyEngaged and Ever Ours, any donations received at www.forjapanwithlove.com will go to purchase shelter boxes for those in need. For more information, please click on the link. (I received the memo a little late so I figured I'd do the next best thing and share ways to help.)

And on a happier note, did you hear about the 4 month old who was found under debris and delivered back to her parents? What about the man who was rescued 10 miles out in the sea? With so much sadness around, I always find it amazing and comforting to hear of a few miracles.

Another thing I'd like to bring attention to is the overall character of the Japanese. People are searching through debris where grocery stores once stood for water etc. and when anyone finds it, if there happens to be an elderly citizen around, the "discoverer" always gives the water to the elderly first and only then goes back to search for themselves. People are waiting in line for aid as opposed to committing crimes and looting; people are taking care of each other... it's just amazing to see after the horrendous disasters they've faced that they are still respectful, courteous, and grateful. You can't control what happens, but you can control how you react. Seeing how we reacted after Katrina, I think we all should take a lesson in humanity from the Japanese and do whatever we can to help rebuild their nation.

And as always (said best at Apartment Therapy) If you're unsure whether to donate to an organization, we recommend checking their standing and credentials via charity research organizations, such as GiveWell and Charity Navigator. File any fraud complaints with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Known as IC3, the Center is a partnership of the FBI, National White Collar Crime Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance. Also, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 to report the fraud.