Articles From the February 1994 Unification News


WFWP Helps Earthquake Victims in Los Angeles

by Takefumi Miyagi - Los Angeles, CA

As many Christian and other organizations rush to help victims of the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake, WFWP joined these forces in a heartistic way by delivering cooked foods and baby needs.

While the media was focusing on the victims in San Fernando Valley of the epicenter, many people in other parts of Los Angeles also suffered severely with little attention and help. Pico-Union, 30 miles south of the epicenter, is the one. This Latino-dominant area harbors many old apartments and houses. Their utilities were cut off and a few hundred people evacuated from their severely damaged apartments.

Mrs. Gloria Soto, director of Pico-Union Improvement Association, asked her friends Takefumi and Sumiko Miyagi for help that they need blankets to stay in the tents. The Japanese couple immediately responded by asking Mrs. Inose, chairwoman of WFWP Japanese chapter in Los Angeles, to collect used blankets and clothes through WFWP Japanese network.

After this initial effort, Mr. Miyagi found Gloria needs more help for her neighborhood. They cannot cook. A baby girl was born just 12 hours before the earthquake and her family lost their apartment. Many children were suffering and frustrating in despair. "We need food, baby diapers and coloring books for children. They need to express themselves to release their frustration," Gloria told him.

Then the Japanese couple turned to Mrs. Sachiko Sato, co-chairwoman of WFWP Southern California, for assistance. Sachiko offered to give some donation from the relief fund raised through WFWP members in Los Angeles. Rev. Sung San Lee agreed to use $500.

Soon food and other goods were delivered to Gloria's place with a letter from WFWP. "It takes a longer time to get aid from the government in this situation. Our community helped each other. Private network like WFWP is more effective," said Gloria with gratitude.

Their gratitude was apparent when hot cooked dinners were served. "I love lasagna," Kristy, Gloria's 14-year-old daughter, screamed with joy." In the first dinner evening more than twenty people came to the outdoor parking lot in Gloria's apartment complex. "It's so delicious," said a young mother of the baby who was born just before the earthquake.

In the second day more than thirty people came. In the third day the number reached about forty. Teriyaki chicken with special ingredients were served then. "We like to know how you can cook so deliciously,'' Gloria asked Sumiko. "We should plan to introduce our best foods to each other in our future program," they agreed.

For Sumiko it was not so easy to cook because she miscarried in the third month of her pregnancy right after the violent shock of the earthquake. "When I know a newborn baby was thrown into such a difficult situation, I could not neglect them as a mother," Sumiko expressed her motive.

In the third day spiritual food was also served. Spanish copies of the speech by Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, the WFWP founder, were delivered. "We like to cooperate with you in future events," a Mexican lady spoke gratefully.

Gloria was already getting involved in WFWP activities. Mr. Miyagi invited her to WFWP seminar and True Children's speech event. Inspired by the speech "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age,'' she applauded enthusiastically from the beginning to the end in last year's event. She is a dedicated Christian and a community leader who volunteers to help community people. She recently completed CORO Neighborhood Leadership Training Program. CORO is a famous organization which trains future community leaders for the purpose of community improvement and self-governing. Many known leaders such as U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein are graduates of this program.

"The earthquake tested our community leadership and we made it,'' said Gloria. Community-based activities and foundation are very important to wrestle with crises like this earthquake," Sumiko added.

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