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Portlanders doing good
by: Courtesy of Richmond School 
Japanese immersion students raised thousands for disaster relief in Japan.

Students at Portland's Japanese immersion school, Richmond Elementary, spent the past two weeks holding bake sales, selling origami and other crafts and bringing in coins from their piggy bank for Japanese disaster relief.

In all, they collected $4,700 through their coin drive, which they presented to Mercy Corps on Tuesday. The funds will benefit the organization's 'Comfort for Kids' program, which will support the needs of displaced children in Japan.

Richmond counselor Mary Megivern said students were compelled to take action after the tragedy struck.

'It was something to put their energy and focus into,' she says. 'Our original goal was $1,500. I was just amazed at the final count.'

If anyone is interested matching the school's collection or contributing to the effort, contact Megivern at 503-916-6220 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association's Charitable Foundation decided to raise funds for Japan as well, collecting $24,728 in charitable donations so far from local auto dealers and the public.

They association plans to match up to $50,000 in contributions.

Of the funds raised so far, Ron Tonkin Family Dealerships contributed $7,000; Lanphere Enterprises Inc. and Dick's Auto Group each pitched in $5,000; and Herzog-Meier Auto Sales sent in $2,500. Suburban Auto Group also collected $2,620 in public contributions, which the auto group will match.

Donations will be sent to Japan YMCA's Relief Fund, which will spend 100 percent of the funds to support victim relief.

For information on how to help out, go to www.portlandnewcars.com to see the list of participating dealers in the area and contact them.

Vie de Bohème Winery of Southeast Portland and a group of volunteers are teaming up with local blues musicians to host 'Jammin' for Japan,' set for 4 to 9 p.m. April 24.

All proceeds will go to Direct Relief International, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life of people affected by the disaster.

In addition, all of the profits from the raffle items, food and drink sales will be donated.

Some of the artists performing include The Ty Curtis Band, Lloyd Jones, Warren Rand, Lisa Mann, Robbie Laws, John Mazzacco and David Kahl.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/JamminForJapan or at the winery, 1530 S.E. Seventh Ave.

Throughout the month of April, the Homeless Family Warming Center at Eastminster Presbyterian Church will serve up to 60 family members each night - but their funding does not cover food, and families come to the shelter hungry.

Call Human Solutions at 503-256-2280 to sign up to bring food to the center, located at 12505 N.E. Halsey.