The Fruit Tree Project

UPDATE: August 24, 2011

The Fruit Tree Project is STILL going strong!  The summer months have been busy for us at volunteerAKITA, but we are still collecting donations and are still getting fruit out to the people who need it most.

To date, we have raised ¥1,811,671 ($23,571) and delivered ~38,612items of fruit!  We also want to thank ALL of our supporters because none of this would be possible without your support and trust in our project and organization.  It really means the world to us, and with your support we have reached out and helped so many people in Tohoku.


– the volunteerAKITA crew

UPDATE: June 21, 2011

The past few weeks have been both amazing and busy!  We are extremely grateful for the exposure we have received from the Asahi Shimbun and The Japan Times newspaper articles, and are looking forward to working with NBC news in the coming weeks.  Donations are still coming in, and we have now raised a total of 1,184,742 yen (~$14,782) and delivered ~29,564 items of fresh fruit through The Fruit Tree Project!

Looking forward, our focus will be to head into Ishinomaki with The Fruit Tree Project as well as the BIG CLEAN.  We still have a lot of  planning to do, but we have made some amazing contacts down there already and are looking forward helping out as much as we can.

On another note, we want to take time to give a very special THANKS to Andy Anderson (Taylor Anderson’s father) who has been supporting us in so many ways and we feel so blessed to have him on board.  Please take time to check out the Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund and support all the great things the Anderson family is doing for Japan.

UPDATE: June 7, 2011

This past week has been HUGE for volunteerAKITA!  The Fruit Tree Project has now raised a total of1,079,742 yen and delivered ~23,614 items of fruit!  This past weekend, we had an amazing group from Akita down in Kesennuma delivering fruit and volunteering in the city.  We reached out to 10 shelters and delivered 6,720 bananas over 2 days (our largest fruit delivery so far). Aside from delivering fruit, the BIG CLEAN initiative has also been staying very active with frequent trips down to the Kesennuma area to volunteer, while also planning larger trips in the coming weeks to other areas like Miyako and Rikuzentakata.  So far the BIG CLEAN has logged ~753 hours of volunteering!!!

Finally, we just want to THANK everyone for all of the support.  It has been amazing to see support coming from all over the world!  Every last yen of the donations we have received goes towards buying fruit for the people in the shelters, and we are proud to say that we have been doing all of this with ZERO overhead.  All transportation costs (gas,tolls, and vehicles) are being covered by us.  We have an amazing team over here in Akita, and so many people in the Japanese community have really stepped up for us to make things happen.  Please continue to check the website for more trip reports and future volunteering plans.

Much Love

Everyone at volunteerAKITA

UPDATE: May 6, 2011

First off, a very BIG THANKS to everyone who has supported this project and everything volunteerAKITA has been doing.  It has been overwhelming to see amount of support we have received from all over the world, and we hope to continue to do great things in the relief efforts currently taking place in Tohoku.  Our Golden Week trip was a huge success!  Although we did not have enough funding to last the full 10 days, we still provided fruit for many people over a  7 day period and made some amazing contacts along the way!  Our original funds proposal was altered a bit due to several variables.  Our original plan was to supply everyone with 2 fruits daily, but by request of the shelters, they preferred we spread out the trip and supply each person with 1 fruit daily.  Another variable we had to account for was the total number of people we were supplying fruit for.  Our original plan was to provide for ~1,100 people living in the shelters.  That number has since dropped to ~867 people, which is great news (because it means some people have found alternative living arrangements)!  But, what we did not know was that ~650 people not living in the shelters still depended on the shelters for daily meals.  This brought our count up to ~1,517 people to provide for daily.  After looking at our budget, we all decided that we had to supply everyone with at least 1 piece of fruit daily.  From the start, we planned to focus on these 3 shelters, so it was important that we fulfilled our promise to them and supplied fruit for everyone!  Attached is a spreadsheet of all our costs for the 7 day trip.  A big thanks to Doug for putting this together, and being so influential in the success of this first trip!  Please check out our daily reports from Kesennuma during Golden Week to see everything we did throughout the week!

Moving Forward:  With the money leftover from the Golden Week Trip, along with incoming donations, we at volunteerAKITA are determined to continue The Fruit Tree Project for as long as we can.  This past trip truly defined The Fruit Tree Project.  From delivering fruit to shelters and spending time with the kids, to volunteering with the city in the clean up efforts, The Fruit Tree Project’s goals are simple; Improving the quality of life for those in need through volunteer, service, and lots of LOVE. More importantly, to develop relationships with those in need, providing strength and encouragement for communities that need it most.


Original Funds Proposal

Hello, my name is Paul Yoo and I am a current JET in Yurihonjo, Akita.  In wake of the recent disaster, we, in Akita, have actively been involved in the relief efforts and are doing our best to contribute in this time of need.  The Fruit Tree Project spawned from our trip down to Kesennuma last week to drop off supplies.  While at the shelter we had the opportunity to talk about what their needs were, and FRESH FRUIT was their unanimous answer.  After leaving the shelter we contacted a local store manager who agreed to help us in our efforts, and offered to make orders for us from his wholesale fruit provider (located in Kesennuma!!!).  He assured us that all of our orders could be accommodated for as long as we placed them the day before.  The details for this plan are SET.  The only thing we need now is funding.  It is heart-breaking to know that the people aren’t able to get what they need, especially with a source so close to them.  We have to change this.  Right now, the shelter we are in contact with, accommodates 1100 people and receives prepared meals from the Japanese military.  They get a bowl of rice and miso soup.  For this first project, our goal is to establish the infrastructure it takes to get fresh fruits into the shelters, while also raising awareness of this issue.  Our hope is that others, who are looking to make a difference, will continue the Fruit Tree Project in other cities and towns effected by the disaster.

Timeline/Goals:  We want to take advantage of Golden Week and head down to Kesennuma for 10 days (April 29th – May 8th) making multiple deliveries per day.  Our goal for this mission is to first and foremost get fruits into the shelters.  Second, is to raise awareness of this issue so others can follow our lead and continue the Fruit Tree Project throughout the devastated areas.

Projected Costs:  Please note, although we are getting wholesale prices, the projected costs are based upon averages (fruit prices fluctuate daily)

~70 apples/box = ~4000yen
1,100 people/70 apples = ~16 boxes = 64,000yen (per day)

~60 bananas/box = ~2,500yen
1,100 people/60 bananas = ~18 boxes = 45,000yen (per day)

~5 oranges/pack = 300yen
1,100 people/5 oranges = 220 packs = 66,000yen (per day)

The goal is to supply each person in the shelter with 2 fruits per day for 10 days (ex:) one apple and one banana (for each person) = 109,000yen/day x 10days = 1,090,000yen

What we need:  The only thing holding us back right now is funding.  The fruit supplier is set, as well as transportation/gasoline/delivery logistics.

How you can donate:  People in Japan can donate through bank transfers (furikomi), a bank account has been set up specifically for this initiative.  ALL donated funds will go towards purchasing fruit for this project.  Those outside of Japan can donate online (US tax deductible) thanks to Second Harvest Japan.  Please refer to the website ( under the “Donate” section for detailed instructions on donating.

Summary:  This project is important to me as a JET because THIS is our community!  Once we settle into our new jobs and towns here in Japan, we become part of the community, and right now Japan has come together as one community.  And this includes us!  We realize it will take a significant amount of money to make this project happen, but when you break it down, a 1000 yen donation could provide 1 person with 2 fruits daily, for 10 consecutive days.  Every little bit counts, and we will guarantee that all funds donated to this project will DIRECTLY benefit the people in need.


フルーツツリープロジェクト(The Fruit Tree Project)

発案:ポール ユー

日本語著:石川 南







りんご1箱(約70個)=約4,000円 合計16箱=64,000円

バナナ1箱(約60本)=約2,500円 合計18箱=45,000円

オレンジ1袋(約5個)=約300円 合計220袋=66,000円