Local Youth Rally to Support Japan Disaster Relief

Alix (left) and Cari (right) with Sam Blaiss (left), Bi-Lo VP Central Region, and Scott R. Salemme (right), American Red Cross Columbia Region CEO

In the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, two young ladies, Alix (15) and Cari (11), supported by their father, Dr. Steve Takayama Tuel, and their mother, Dr. Katharine Presty, decided that they needed to form a plan to raise money to support the ongoing needs in that country.  The family, of Japanese descent, felt a true draw to the mission being played out before their eyes through the Japanese Red Cross.  Cari decided to hold a number of bake sales at Hand Middle School where she is a student.  She raised close to $2,000.  Alix, a student at Dreher High School, contacted Morihiko Nakahara, Conductor of the SC Philharmonic, and raised another $2,000 through a fundraiser held during one of the philharmonic’s performances.

This was not enough for the Takayama Tuel’s. The family furthered their mission by organizing and implementing a Japanese Cultural Event and Silent Art Auction that took place on April 20th at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Columbia. This event was a huge success and raised another $12,000, bringing their total to just over $16,000.  The family then contacted Bi-Lo Charities to see if they  would match the money collected. Through negotiations and much perseverance, the Takayama Tuels obtained the match and presented a check in excess of $38,000 to the American Red Cross to support the Japanese earthquake victims.  This family demonstrated a sincere desire to help others through their efforts and worked unselfishly to plan and implement the events that raised so much money.

However, their story does not end here.  Alix and Cari are actively planning to organize another project for the American Red Cross and would like to involve students from their respective schools, Dreher High and Hand Middle, in an effort to promote the on-going mission of the Red Cross and encourage service to the community.

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