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Thursday, 24th May 2012
In General Japan News,

??MLB stars donate $310,000 to Japan tsunami charity

Baseball stars in the US have clubbed together to donate $310,000 to help with the tsunami and earthquake relief effort in Japan.

The funds are to be used to expand a mobile Community Cafe that acts as a cultural hub and brings a sense of pride back to areas that were devastated in the March 11th twin disaster last year.

The grant, which has been provided by the Major League Baseball (MLB) Players Trust, has been donated to the Hands on Tokyo non-profit organisations.

Points of Light, an affiliate of the charity, will use the funds to grow its Community Cafe scheme – a project which helps bring people living in temporary accommodation after losing their homes together to connect with others, share their experiences and inspire positive action.

"By building community, we are building hope and helping residents from these communities work together to rebuild their homes and their infrastructure," explained Points of Light chief executive Michelle Nunn.

"This generous donation allows Points of Light and Hands On Tokyo to expand our efforts to include training and deploying volunteers and prioritising community rebuilding needs that can be accomplished by volunteers."

The donation brings the total gifted by MLB players to more than $900,000 following an earlier grant of $575,000 that was used to fund a range of relief and recovery programmes.

This included a gift of baseball equipment to 32 youth teams from Ishinomaki, in the Miyagi Prefecture.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Takashi Saito said that he was honoured to join other Major League players to help return a sense of pride to his native Miyagi.

He said that the effects of the tsunami continue to be felt across parts of Japan and have challenged the spirit of thousands of people, but projects such as the Community Cafe "will help the proud people living in and around north-eastern Japan reconnect with their roots".

Written by Mark Smith