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Interview from 2HJ Saitama pick up regular volunteer

2HJ Okada san’s interview

Today’s interview, like last time, will be focusing on a pickup volunteer in our Saitama location. Okada san has joined the pickup volunteer activity in our Saitama location since last year and has been valuable with his calm manner in handling his work. He has also shown that he can be a trusted volunteer.

This time, Second Harvest Japan (hereon referred to as 2HJ), interviewed him on his volunteer activity.

1)  Okada san, what was the reason for your joining in 2HJ’s activities?

When the East Japan Earthquake hit in 2011, I was wondering what I could do to help, so I looked for supporting organizations to get involved in volunteer activities. As I got involved in different organizations sending necessary goods to the affected areas, I learned about 2HJ. At the same time, I was interested in activities to fight food loss, such as soup kitchens and food banks, and thus, I joined in the activities of 2HJ as much as I could. I also joined in the soup kitchens at Ueno Park two to three times a month.

2)  What was the reason you joined the activities at the Saitama location?

After joining 2HJ as a volunteer, there was a period when I could not join the activities due to time constraint, but from Nov. 2017, I had enough time to join in the activities. When the new location was set up in Yashio, Saitama prefecture, I heard that it sought manpower. Since I can commute with my bike from my home to the Saitama location, and thus it serves as a good exercise, I decided to join because I wanted to help out.

3)  What kind of volunteer activities do you do at the Saitama location?

I am involved in the pick-up activities, which involve distributing the donated food to the people who need it. To be specific, before distributing out the food, I check the expiration date of the donated food to make sure they have not expired. I also layout the donated food by categories and clean up after the pickup activity has ended. I also help explain in English to international volunteers when they do not understand Japanese.

4)  What do the 2HJ activities mean to you?

It isn’t from 2HJ, but previously, I have had the experience of being saved, when I received food. I feel 2HJ is trying to solve a problem, which is close to my heart personally. I also think it is a good opportunity to think about the questions and problems involving eating habits. When I see at the donated food, I see the present-age Japanese people’s value towards food and their way of life. It is a learning experience.

5)  How would you like to get involved with 2HJ in the future?

I would like to join the Saitama location more regularly and learn more about the work style and system at the Saitama location. I would also like to be able to help new volunteers so they can easily join in the activities.

Since I am involved in a volunteer activity that not only involves moving or categorizing things, but involve working with people, I would like to think about the best way to deal with different people. I would like to value the sense of respect I feel when dealing with the people receiving the donated food and the other volunteers.

Okada san, thank you very much!

If you are interested in volunteer activities at 2HJ, you can join from here.

We are also looking for people who would like to volunteer in our Saitama location, so if you are interested, please join us from here, as well.




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