Helping Out During Little Tokyo’s Time of Need

Above and below: COVID-19 vaccines are administered at Terasaki Budokan in Little Tokyo. The second dose will be given to local low-income seniors on March 16 in partnership with Wesley Health Centers. (LTSC)

The Distinguished Community Service Award was established in 1980 to honor those who work to benefit the Japanese-American community. The name quickly changed to Community Service Award, and in 1990 the Community Service Award was presented to an organization for the first time.

In 2014, the Nisei Week Board changed the name again to the Frances K. Hashimoto Community Service Award in recognition of a longtime Nisei Week board member and community leader and businesswoman in Little Tokyo. Last year, in 2013, the city of Los Angeles built the Frances K Hashimoto Plaza, which is directly adjacent to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

Little Tokyo Town Council (LTCC). Established in 1999, LTCC is dedicated to ensuring that Little Tokyo remains a viable hub for both Japanese-American and downtown LA. It works to develop a vision of what Little Tokyo should be in the future and acts as an advocate on behalf of the community with over 100 organizational memberships. LTCC ran a GoFundMe campaign called Community Feeding Community that raised over US $ 200,000 to buy groceries from restaurants in Little Tokyo and distribute it to those in the hospitality industry who have lost their jobs due to COVID. LTCC also ran a GoFundMe campaign called Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund, which raised an additional $ 200,000 to support 100 long-established businesses in Little Tokyo with a grant of $ 2,000 each.

The Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC). Founded more than 40 years ago, the LTSC is committed to improving the lives of underserved individuals and families and promoting the equitable development of ethnic communities and their rich cultural heritage. At the beginning of the pandemic, LTSC contacted thousands of their customers and assessed their needs. Working with the Keiro Foundation to fund low-cost meals, LTSC’s Little Tokyo Eats program bought groceries from restaurants in Little Tokyo and then served meals to seniors at a discount. LTSC has also partnered with a medical clinic to provide COVID vaccinations to seniors and others in Little Tokyo.

At the start of the pandemic last year, organizations like Little Tokyo Community Council, LTSC, Teramachi, and Little Tokyo Senior Nutrition Service, working with local restaurants, quickly focused on providing meals to elderly residents and workers affected by COVID. suddenly unemployed -19. (Go Little Tokyo)

The Little Tokyo Public Safety Association (LTPSA). LTPSA was founded in 1986 in response to crimes affecting Little Tokyo businesses. In the 1990s, the local businessman began patrolling the area to combat car break-ins and aggressive scaremongering that intimidated customers, tourists and local residents. In 1986 the Koban was opened as an information center and contact point for the LAPD. Realizing the need to help restaurants during the pandemic when there was no indoor dining and insufficient sidewalk space, LTPSA coordinated with the Little Tokyo Business Association and the City of Los Angeles to create one of the first ever al frescoes. to be built (outdoor restaurant) on the north side of First Street between Judge John Aiso Street and Central Avenue. K-rails next to the lane created a safe outdoor dining area which helped the restaurants expand significantly and are still in operation. LTPSA also provided lunches for the LAPD patrols helping in Little Tokyo.

The Little Tokyo Business Association (LTBA). LTBA first provided all of its members with much-needed information about CDC and county regulations to conduct their business. LTBA assisted LTPSA in setting up Al Fresco on First Street and provided the companies with information on how to set up their business. LTBA also supported the restaurants of the Honda Plaza and coordinated with the owner of the square to set up outdoor catering in their parking lot, which still exists today.

The Teramachi Homes Senior Condominium Complex. The Teramachi is on the corner of Third Street and San Pedro Street in Little Tokyo. Residents thought they could help the restaurants in Little Tokyo by organizing the seniors who live in the complex and ordering food in bulk for the restaurant residents. They raised and spent more than $ 50,000 in lunch orders from restaurants in Little Tokyo over the past year, and they continue to serve their terameals every Tuesday and Thursday.

Volunteers join Los Angeles firefighters as they greet first responders at Koban in Little Tokyo on July 1, 2020. Koban and the Little Tokyo Business Association worked to create Al Fresco on First Street and helped set up outdoor dining at Honda Plaza.

The Little Tokyo Senior Nutrition Service (Koreisha Chushoku Kai). Founded in 1976, Koreisha is located in Union Church on the corner of Third Street and San Pedro Street. Koreisha’s mission is to maintain body and mind health for older adults. With their cafeteria and delivery service, they currently offer more than 200 meals at affordable prices every day of the week. When the pandemic broke out and meals could not be served in the dining room, Koreisha’s volunteers had to quickly turn to deliver all meals to residents of the area. Thus, during the pandemic, Koreisha continued to serve meals to all home-bound seniors and minimized the social isolation of these seniors while providing them with an “integrated” service throughout the pandemic.

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