NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — TABLE FOR TWO (TFT) USA, a non-profit organization that aims to tackle obesity and hunger issues simultaneously, held a social action program called “Change the World with Onigiri (Rice ball) #OnigiriAction” to support the annual World Food Day campaign from Oct. 5-Nov. 15. TFT fans and supporters from all over the world posted photos of their own onigiri to the campaign site or via social media with the hashtag #OnigiriAction. Sponsor organizations* donated five meals per photo submitted. These photos made an impact. TFT can fund one school meal to a child in Africa with a single 25-cent donation. In the U.S., TFT can use the 25-cent donation to add fresh vegetables and fruits to one school meal served in low-income neighborhood districts.

*Sponsor organizations: J.C.C. Fund/Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, JFC International/Nishiki, Japan Commerce Association of Washington D.C. Foundation, Zojirushi America, San-J, ITOCHU International, SMBC Global Foundation, Tokyo Central/Marukai, Misuzu Corporation, Otafuku Foods, Arawa City, Just One Cookbook, BentOn, Onigilly, Mama Musubi

In total, the program generated 160,425 onigiri photos from all over the world – 50 percent more postings than the onigiri campaign last year. Through this social action, TFT will provide roughly 1 million (975,000) warm school meals, enough to support 4,500 children in need for one school year. To commemorate this success, a mosaic of a smiling child in Africa was created using the posted photos. Among all the great photos, the “Best of the Best Onigiri” photos were awarded. You can view the photographs here: http://jp.tablefor2.org/campaign/onigiri/en.

1. “Wow” Location Award
[Guinea] Students in Guinea made onigiri from their own produced rice!

2. Onigiri Halloween Award
[Canada] Onigiri makes the perfect Halloween treat!

3. Onigiri Smile Award
[USA] Michigan supporters made students around the world smile – 20 Onigiri Action events provide over 7,000 school meals.

4. Most Creative Onigiri Award
[USA] Chef Andy Matsuda’s delicious rendition of 101 Dalmatians!

5. Most Creative Onigiri Award
[USA] A happy smiley face surrounded by Onigiri representing all the countries participating in Onigiri Action.

6. Most Creative Onigiri Award
[USA] Onigiri cookies? Yes!

7. Onigiri Kids Award
[USA] Washington, D.C., students show the world how to make perfect “Rice Balls”!

8. Best Onigiri Story Award
[Germany] A Minion Onigiri led the grand tour of Munich, Germany – royal palace to biergarten!

9. Best Onigiri Story Award
[USA] A love letter to Africa from Ocean Lake High School, a participant in the Global Classmates Program by Kizuna Across Cultures!

TABLE FOR TWO was first established in Japan in 2007 and has spread to 14 countries including the U.S. Japanese food culture is acknowledged as one of the world’s healthiest and its popularity continues to grow. As a non-profit organization with roots in Japan, TFT promoted the enjoyment of Japanese food culture through a unique campaign which provides school meals to children in need. Onigiri was featured to celebrate rice, one of the major Japanese agricultural products, and to showcase the Japanese tradition of making onigiri for others with love. 

In New York City, TFT participated in Japan Fes on Oct. 22. TFT sold donated products such as Otafuku Foods’ Okonomiyaki Kit (Japanese savory pancake) and marukome, USA’s Miso Soup, to raise donations for school meals. Participants lined up to try their own hand at making onigiri at the TFT booth. ITOCHU International organized an Onigiri Action event at their office where their employees enjoyed learning how to make onigiri and joining the action. Also during the campaign period, local Japanese restaurant BentOn sold special healthy onigiri.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Tako Grill, Sushi Express, Sushi Taro and Rice Bar sold onigiri and healthy Japanese food for donation. The Japan Commerce Association of Washington D.C. Foundation supported a nearby school in a low-income community with improved access to healthier school meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. On Halloween day, Oct. 31, the students enjoyed learning how to make Halloween theme onigiri. Also, the Embassy of Japan and TFT held an onigiri workshop for elementary students in the D.C. area. The Japan-America Society of Washington DC participated by hosting a workshop where participants learned how to make onigirazu, a sandwich-like variant of the versatile onigiri.

In Los Angeles, TFT organized several Onigiri Action events at Au Fudge owned by Jessica Biel, WilliamsSonoma in Beverly Hills, Tokyo Central and Japanese food festival. Tokyo Central/Marukai sold onigiri with donation at all the stores in California. Also Onigilly, Mama Musubi and Aedan sold onigiri with donation. In Boston, Oishii event was held at the public library of Brookline by inviting cookbook author Ms. Debra Samuels to participate. It was a fun-filled and educational evening to make delicious (oishii) and popular Japanese foods: rice balls (onigiri) and rice stuffed fried tofu skin pockets (oinarisan).  Onigiri Action was a hit this year in Michigan. TFT supporters organized numerous Onigiri Action events at local schools, community centers to local hospitals.

TABLE FOR TWO USA President Mayumi Uejima-Carr: 
“The results of this year’s ‘Change the World with Onigiri’ Action Campaign were well beyond our expectations. Photos were posted from all over the country, including many from schools and organizations in places that had seen little to no participation last year. As the title of the action says, onigiri did change the world. Over 60 events were held nationwide to introduce onigiri over the course of a month.We found enthusiasm everywhere for this unique social action campaign. For instance, many K-12 schools organized onigiri workshops to enjoy learning about new Japanese food while making a positive difference at the same time. We were very happy to see all the fun and heartwarming photos from adults, teens and children all over the world. We appreciate everyone’s support in bringing many smiles to those in need.”

To visit the campaign site, please visit http://jp.tablefor2.org/campaign/onigiri/en. For more information about TFT, please visit http://usa.tablefor2.org. 

About TABLE FOR TWO USA:

TABLE FOR TWO USA (TFT) is a 501(C)(3) organization that addresses the opposite issues of hunger and obesity through a unique “meal-sharing” program. TFT partners with corporations, restaurants, schools and other food establishments to serve healthy, low-calorie, TFT-branded meals. For each one of these healthy meals served, a small portion of the cost is donated to provide one school meal for a child in need. TFT started in Japan and now operates in 14 countries. As one of the most well-known NPOs in Japan, which is noted for the longevity of its people, TFT promotes Japanese healthy eating culture as well as tackling the critical health issues. TFT has recently launched a food education program called “Wa-Shokuiku -Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese!-” to teach elementary to high school students in the U.S. about Japanese food and foodways through hands-on cooking and learning activities.

Media Contact:
Mayumi Uejima-Carr
President, TABLE FOR TWO USA
E: m.uejima@tablefor2.org
P: 318-359-9736

Related Images

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Onigiri Action 2017 – Best of the Best Onigiri Awards

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New York: ITOCHU International

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Washington DC: The Embassy of Japan and an Elementary School

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Los Angeles: Au Fudge

Related Links

Onigiri Action Website

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