Volunteers are at the heart of everything that Tonari Gumi does. Without their service, we would not be able to deliver the vast variety of different programs and services which benefit the lives of our seniors within the community. On Saturday, August 29th, more than 70 of our many volunteers gathered to be fed, entertained and honoured. Our dedicated volunteers serve in a vast array of different activities, ranging from the following: planning and preparing our thrice weekly healthy and delicious Japanese lunches; preparing for and teaching dozens of classes, workshops and exercise activities each week; planning, purchasing and preparing a weekly Japanese lunch for Japanese Canadian residents at the Royal Arch Seniors Residence; providing a welcome friendly visit for more than 20 seniors at various care facilities who are isolated due to language and cultural barriers; helping frail and dementia challenged seniors to participate in programs specifically designed for them; delivering a Japanese lunch to homebound seniors; assisting low-income seniors to prepare their income tax returns; accompanying seniors to medical and government appointments to assist in interpreting; and helping at our many fundraising activities, including the Powell Street Festival, our annual golf tournament, our bazaars, concerts and Tonari Gumi’s famous Premium Sake Tasting Night. On Saturday’s Volunteer Appreciation Party, in addition to a delicious lunch catered by Izumi-ya, the talented Michael Ouchi regaled everyone with his unique and creative balloon art objects and the “Za Daikon” theatre group entertained with songs and a rousing Japanese sword fight. Participants were also presented with a certificate of appreciation from Tonari Gumi. Special thanks also goes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were so kind as to provide their spacious church facilities for free for this enjoyable and rewarding event.
Sake Tasting Night Sponsors On Saturday, October 10, 2015, Tonari Gumi’s 14th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night will be taking place. As the largest sake tasting event of its kind in Western Canada and possibly in Canada as a whole, this is a major event for the Japanese Canadian community and for the sake-tasting community as a whole. We are proud to present the logos of those companies and individuals who have chosen to sponsor this event and to support and encourage its objectives. The Japanese Community Volunteers Association, or Tonari Gumi as we are known in Japanese, together with the Sake Association of BC and a host of other supporters are proud to be able to host this event. This is one of the best opportunities to get to know and to taste the widest variety of Japanese and North American sakes. In addition, the funds raised from the ticket sales, the silent auction and raffle, all go towards supporting Tonari Gumi who operate a Seniors’ Drop-In Centre at 42 West 8th Avenue in Vancouver and send out volunteers to assist seniors and anyone else needing help within the community. Among the many things done by our volunteers, they visit the lonely and isolated; they help to fill out essential application forms for health, housing, pension and other benefits for those who have difficulty in communicating in English; they deliver Japanese-style lunches to those who are home-bound and have difficulties in getting out; they help Japanese-speaking seniors to communicate with their doctors and other caregivers; and they receive important information on benefits and services available to them in their own language. These are just some of the services and assistance provided by our more than 200 volunteers and 4 full-time and 3 part-time staff. Have an enjoyable time at […]