In January 2003, “Friends Care” began offering Japanese-style lunches “Japanese food for the soul” twice a month to church friends with special circumstances. On two Fridays a month, up to 25 volunteers gathered to prepare/deliver delicious, traditional, beautifully-presented Japanese obento lunches for seniors and friends. Then and now, recipients are those who enjoy a bit of our TLC (Tender, Loving Care) and those who may not find it as easy to venture out as in the past.
The idea was inspired by Helen Shirakawa in the year 2002 – she was volunteering in the Church office at the time. We were discussing a Church family that was burdened with an illness and brainstorming ideas as to how we could be of help to the family. Cooking for the family was discussed – names of other families who might benefit from a Japanese-style home-cooked meal came up, and the seeds of the ministry were planted. Cosh Ng offered to plan/organize/supervise the meals; Frances Kurushima offered to help her; Janelle Saito offered to “round up” volunteers to help prep, cook and deliver the meals and help with the financial accounting; Helen offered to lend her support wherever it was needed and the ministry took off from there. Today, Friends Care prepares 250 meals monthly. We are grateful for current leaders Jo Katayama and Cosh Ng and the many volunteers and drivers who support this vibrant ministry! (article written by Janelle Saito in 2006, with updates)
Friends Care assembly line, 2013