Tonari Gumi’s 2012 Volunteer Appreciation Party was held on Saturday, June 30th. Despite the rainy weather, some 90 of the close to 200 volunteers who are key to delivering Tonari Gumi’s many programs and activities for seniors and others in need within the Japanese Canadian community were in attendance at this annual event. While originally scheduled to be a picnic held in Stanley Park, Vancouver’s rainy start to summer meant that we had to go to our backup facility generously provided the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at their Burnaby building. In future, our hope would be able to have enough space in our own new facilities to accommodate events of this kind, but in the meantime, we are thrilled that others are willing and able to assist us. The event started with a delicious bento lunch supplied by Fujiya and then we moved to some thrilling games and activities to get everyone involved with each other. With game and door prizes, nearly everyone was able to go home with a small token of Tonari Gumi’s appreciation for all that our volunteers do for the community.
With many major events coming up such as the Powell Street Festival on August 4-5, a rummage and used book sale on Aug 13-14, our Tonari Gumi Reunion Picnic on August 18 and this year’s annual Premium Sake Tasting Night on Saturday, October 6th, we are still looking for more volunteers to help us to man these exciting events. In addition, we always need willing helpers for our regular programs and events such as drivers for our Japanese meals on wheels; people who are willing to visit seniors at various facilities throughout the lower mainland and many more activities each day of the year. We are busy – and you can be too by coming to help as a volunteer at Tonari Gumi. If you are interested please e-mail David Iwaasa at <email@example.com>.