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May can only mean one thing here in Chubu: Walkathon! We are full steam ahead on our way to the 25th Annual Charity Walkathon, organized in partnership with Nagoya International School. How amazing it is to reflect on more than two decades of giving back to the Chubu community!

As the Charity leader, it is my job to bring everyone’s attention to the reason we do this, as it is often easy to get lost in the details of planning the event. It has been my pleasure to reach out, learn more, and share with the chapter the amazing work being done with the funds. I’d like to highlight just a few.

THE SASHIMA CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
This group works tirelessly to provide hot meals for the homeless in Nagoya. Together with other local organizations, they guarantee a fresh, hot meal every day of the week. Throughout the year, they meet the needs of the homeless with food, counseling, clothing and, more often than not, an ear and a heart. Walkathon committee members and a group from sustaining member Lockheed Martin recently served the community on a cold March evening. Needless to say, many of us were motivated to commit more of our time on a regular basis.

THE AICHI BONE MARROW SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION
A certified NPO, the Aichi Bone Marrow Program Supporting Organization helps raise awareness of the needs and concerns of patients awaiting life-saving bone marrow transplants. At a recent national hematology conference, they presented a panel discussion and performance focused on the difficulties patients face when dealing with treatment, and the need to continue working. It was an eye-opening experience because we often concentrate only on the medical challenges, overlooking the social impact disease has on the patient, their friends, colleagues, and family. Proudly, ACCJ Walkathon is the largest (monetary) supporter of this organization.

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SHIRASAGI FUKUSHIEN
This important facility provides a workplace, recreational programs, and group homes for the mentally challenged. Several ACCJ members and NIS students recently visited the facility. We learned about the many things Shirasagi Fukushien does to help bring a sense of purpose to this community, including employing those with intellectual disabilities and providing jobs they can do.
Shirasagi Fukushien meets an essential need, but their resources must often be stretched just to provide the basics. Walkathon funds enable opportunities for special outings or the purchase of essential equipment that can enhance the experiences of the people who go there every day.

A WIDER REACH
In addition to these groups, more than 20 organizations will receive funding from Chubu’s Walkathon. The three organizations highlighted here are an example of the wide diversity of those who benefit from Walkathon funds. For many of them, it is their largest source of annual funding.

As the 25th year is a special milestone, we are committed to raising ¥25 million. Although challenging, this will enable us to create the Chubu Children’s Fund (CCF), while maintaining the support of our past recipients. The CCF will help children in Chubu-area orphanages with the specific goal of preparing them for life after leaving the institutions. This assistance will include training to develop valuable skills, and financial support for continuing education. In a meeting with Washinkan, a home that Walkathon has supported through the years, the need to direct funds to help young adults transition to independence was made clear. We are excited that the Walkathon will have such a lasting effect through the CCF.

With all of the challenges that lie ahead, we invite you to join us at Moricoro Park on May 22, where you can help celebrate 25 years of Walkathon and giving back to the community we love.

Erin Sakakibara is Charity Tanto of the ACCJ–Chubu chapter Walkathon Committee
More than 20 organizations will receive funding from Chubu’s Walkathon. For many of them, it is their largest source of annual funding.