By David Ikeda
It has been an incredibly busy time here over the fall and it’s not even winter yet when we begin preparing the Holiday Drive boxes. For the organization this has been a particularly challenging time.
We have been going through some staffing changes as well as changes on the board of directors. As you can see in the article regarding Mr. Dembo, the change for the board has been particularly hard. One always appreciates someone more once they are no longer with you. Although he is serving as special consultant to the board, Dembo-san is no longer here on a nearly daily basis designing and implementing programs and taking on the duties as vice president, Holiday Drive box deliverer, etc. Coping with his “absence” has been hard for the board, staff and, if I may say, me, since I relied on his experience and expertise in handling issues at the board level and also with dealings with outside organizations such as the Consul General of Japan, with whom he served as liaison.
However, life goes on. This past October our counsellors Takanori Kuge, Junko Mifune and I ran the Scotiabank Waterfront marathon as a fund raising venture for JSS. Mr. Kuge ran the full marathon while Junko and I ran the half marathon. Although we did the running it was Junko Yamamoto, our fundraising chair who led a terrific effort to raise money for JSS by soliciting donations and advertisements. Her goal for this first-time effort was $3,000. I am happy to report that she doubled that. The money will be used as always to continue the counselling and programs our community very much utilizes. And as happy we are to raise funds, the costs never seem to go down and we are always facing financial challenges.
As I write this we are planning our Volunteer Appreciation Party for November 23 here at the JCCC. As he did last year, Mr. Tak Yoshida will again provide the food. I have known Tak-san for years and was amazed at the delicious Oden, saba and other Japanese delicacies he provided. It was my first time eating his delicious creations and believe me, what a wonderful feast it was.
The Holiday Drive has begun. As you know each year JSS distributes large boxes into which so many generous people deposit toys, food and gifts to financially challenged and isolated individuals in the community. The Japanese community in the GTA is always so generous. I am always amazed at the heaping amounts of items that fill the boxes. We are so grateful to the churches and organizations and business that allow us to use their spaces in order to collect the Holiday Drive items.
May the holiday season bring you and your family much joy and good fortune. Happy Holidays, from all of us here at JSS.
By David Ikeda