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Mayor Launches Katrina’s Drive for Japan with Local Student


March 22, 2011 – At the encouragement of local St. Patrick’s High School Student Katrina Vale, Mayor Keith Hobbs today announced the launch of Katrina’s Drive for Japan to help the victims of the country following the recent natural disasters. The campaign will be administered through the Thunder Bay branch of the Canadian Red Cross.

Katrina contacted the Mayor’s office last week and implored him to help her, help Japan through a campaign to raise funds for the country that has been devastated by earthquakes, a tsunami and a nuclear crisis as a result of the natural disasters.

“I was blown away by the compassion and determination of this young lady,” said Mayor Hobbs following the receipt of her letter inviting the Mayor’s office to help her issue a challenge to the community of Thunder Bay. “This young lady was prepared to contact every business in town and as many individuals as possible to help our neighbours across the pacific. I commend her efforts and admire her empathy for those in need.”

“I am putting out a challenge to all of the schools and businesses in Thunder Bay to raise money for the Japan relief fund,” said Katrina Vale, founder of Katrina’s Drive. “There are many ways we can help raise money like dress down days, school dances and personal donations.

I was on vacation having breakfast with my family and my parents were talking about the disaster in Japan – that’s when I decided I needed to do something. All I could think about was the droves of people with no homes, food or drinking water and the many people there, and around the world, who don't know if their families are alive or not. Here I am on vacation, safe and with my family, and it didn’t feel right. This is when I sent Mayor Hobbs an e-mail and asked him to help, me help Japan. I felt I needed to do whatever I could to rally our community to help another.”

Katrina will be dedicating the next few weeks to raise as much money as possible for the relief fund. Donations to Katrina’s Drive for Japanese Aid can be made through the Thunder Bay Branch of the Canadian Red Cross at 1145 Barton St.

For over 100 years, the Canadian Red Cross has been helping fellow citizens around the world and across the street. “We respond to people in need of our help as they struggle to recover from extreme events such as floods, earthquakes famine, fire, conflict or disease,” said Ken Widdifield, Disaster Management Coordinator – Canadian Red Cross. “Whatever threats they are facing, the Canadian Red Cross is there for them thanks to the support and encouragement of people like Katrina Vale. Katrina exemplifies the Power of Humanity upon which the Red Cross mandate is placed.

We work with sister societies like the Japanese Red Cross who have, due to the severe effect of the earthquake on the Japanese people, asked for our financial help. The Canadian Red Cross is responding to their request. Like Katrina Vale, and thousands of donors and volunteers across the Country, including hundreds in Thunder Bay, we are doing our part to alleviate the suffering of our fellow world citizens.”

To donate to Katrina's Drive go to www.redcross.ca/katrinasdrive. Mayor Hobbs extends sincere thanks to the many individuals and organizations who have already donated to the Japanese relief efforts.

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Contact:  Mayor Keith Hobbs, 625-3601