Tuesday, March 29, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 13 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We, as Elks, do many great things across this country.”
- Dave Hurley  
- Grand Exalted Ruler   
of the Elks of Canada   


Andy and Shelley Vanderplas, Homestay family to NIT student Nobuaki Takashima, recently donated $1,000 to Japanese families affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and have challenged other families to do the same.
The Vanderplases, who billet Takashima out of their home in Hillcrest, and have also acted as Homestay family to other NIT students in the past, donated the $600 monthly room and board allowance they receive from the educational institution back to the school’s Japan relief fund last week, in addition to spending $400 of their own money to purchase care package items and blankets for families living in the city of Sendai, one of the worst affected by the disaster.
“We decided to do what we can,” said Andy Vanderplas, adding that he and his family have also enjoyed the hospitality of Japanese families during their time in the country. “Now that they’re in need, it’s only right that we do what we can to help them.”
Vanderplas said he and his wife are also extending the challenge to past and present Homestay families, and anyone who has benefited from the program.
This year, there are 15 NIT students being billeted by families in the Crowsnest Pass, and five in Lethbridge.
NIT Director Phil Cann estimates there are approximately 50 past and present local families who have provided the service, and about as many in Lethbridge as well.
“If we all do something, it adds up to a lot,” said Vanderplas. “We live in a safe, comfortable area – it’s not going to hurt us to reach out and help.”
Vanderplas said Takashima’s family live close to Sendai, and that their home was significantly damaged in the tsunami, but that they are alive and well.
Currently, they are staying in one of the countless emergency shelters set up throughout the country, where supplies are running low and resources are stretched.
Vanderplas said he was informed that one of the most needed items at the shelters are blankets, as often seven people are sharing just one blanket.
“It’s just terrifying for them right now,” he said.
NIT has been conducting fundraising efforts since mere days following the disaster, distributing approximately 80 donation receptacles to businesses and public areas throughout the community.
The funds will later be sent to NIT’s Japanese partners and distributed to families in affected areas.
Cann said many members of the community and local businesses are also taking on their own fundraising efforts, including Scotiabank and Isabelle Sellon School, who have been major fundraisers for the past couple weeks.
“We are very pleased with the way the community has been responding and getting on board,” said Cann.
NIT will also be holding a silent auction, art show and open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 9th at their education complex, formerly the Blairmore United Church.
The event will serve as a major fundraiser for the cause.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 13 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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