My next guest will be Charles McJilton, CEO and founder of Second Harvest Japan.
Charles came to Japan for the first time in 1984 with the U.S. military, and returned in 1991 to conduct research at Sophia University as part of his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota.
During that time he lived in San’ya, a low-income area that many Japanese would not recognize as a part of Tokyo, or Japan, and from January 1997 to April 1998, in an effort to better understand the challenges facing the area’s residents, many of whom live below the poverty line, he lived in a cardboard shelter alongside the Sumida River.
In 2000, he became co-chair of a coalition of groups working together to share resources among food distribution programs, and two years later, he incorporated Second Harvest Japan, the first food bank in Japan.
Second Harvest Japan collects food that would otherwise go to waste from food manufacturers, farmers, and individuals, and distributes it to people in need such as children in orphanages, low-income households, and the homeless.