Santa Soultrain 2017


Santa Soultrain 2017


We are excited to announce the 7th annual Santa Soul Train!

The Santa Soul Train is a community festival in Minami Sanriku, Tohoku on Dec.17th, 2017 that will bring over 500 survivors and 50 volunteers together - from Tokyo, Sendai, Nagoya, Yamagata, Aomori, the USA, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Italy and more - to celebrate what it means to be EMPOWERED.

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The Impact

The Impact


Project Goals:

1. Remind 1,000 survivors of 3.11 that they are not alone
2. Host 2 inspiring holiday themed community festivals in Tohoku: Miyagi + Fukushima
3. Connect 1,000 international school students to 1,500 survivor children across Japan
4. Create 100 inspired volunteers
5. Facilitate 6 Cycling Santas to hand deliver 1,000 stockings to survivor children
6. Raise ¥3,000,000





We need you in Minami Sanriku this Dec.17

If you’ve worked in the world of supporting recovery, you know the age old challenges that comes with dependency: depression and victimization.  The long term emotional impacts, suicide, and broken communities are the real long-term tragedy.  What survivors face today, now, in Tohoku, is a never-ending rebuilding process in small rural villages.  And this is what makes events like this year’s Santa Soul Train so important.

To pull this off, we need help doing everything from entertaining to prep and organization, cooking and project management, and for those that can not join us, Please donate and sponsor stockings for children up and down the coast of Tohoku.  

This year the children of Minami Sanriku will be giving back by sending cards and stockings to other areas of Tohoku.  We challenge you to do the same.

In 2014 deaths related to stress and grief in Fukushima prefecture surpassed those that died in the disaster.

 More than 25% of post-disaster residents experience depression.

More than 25% of post-disaster residents experience depression.





Last year we delivered 1,200 stockings up and down the coast near Minami Sanriku in 13 locations in 5 cities.

This year we're asking for 1,500 stockings and cards for community events in both Fukushima and Miyagi.

The Santa Soul Train holiday reunion is one in a series of community workshops and events held by Place To Grow for children and families recovering from earthquakes and disasters. Every year at Christmas we bring these stockings to post-disaster neighborhoods, and help host an international festival.

This year the children of MinamiSanriku will become Inspired Volunteers by giving back. Card-making workshops and stocking stuffing activities are organized by Place To Grow volunteers.

Sponsor a stocking today!

Support a child in post-disaster communities.
1 x STOCKING = ¥3,000

Sponsor a Stocking

2016 Video

2015 Video

2014 Video





Join us to spend the holiday working hand-in-hand with local volunteers to help bring their community together.  

This is how we break the cycle of depression and loneliness that too often takes hold after major disasters.  We continue to be that “someone in your corner” that reminds you not to give up – the cheerleaders that say “we are rooting for you!” We have been, and intend to continue to be there for the survivors.  

Last years Santa Soul Train event brought:

500+ Local Community Survivors
50+ Outside Volunteers
50+ Local Volunteers
1000+ Children Receiving a Card and a Gift
3,000,000+ Yen Raised in Funding and Equivalent Donations
300+ Hours of Volunteer Time
100+ Hours Working Alongside Survivors
400+ Cards Shared to Other Disaster Locations Like Kumamoto and Nepal
Many More Cards and Gifts delivered to 10 locations up and down the Tohoku Coast.

+ Awareness for Monthly Place to Grow Workshops

Become an Individual Sponsor


The People

The People


Where do we start...

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TV Celebrity Stuart-O will bring his dynamite energy-dance act, and have the children, the parents, and the entire room up and dancing in his trademark Soul Train collaborative performance.

TV celebrity Hayami Yu is donating her time to MC the event and also to perform on stage.

Singer Charlie Okamura brings his charm and brilliant presence to life on stage to delight with a variety of traditional songs.

Team Misawa from the US Navy/Air Force base is sending troops to volunteer, create cards, and send cookies and goodie bags made by the children and mothers of their community.

For 6 years, our dear partners at the international schools have made it real.

American School in Japan

Ohana International School  

Nagoya International School

Nishimachi International School

K International School

Fukuoka International School

Thank you to our past Partners:

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Sponsor Updates


New In-Kind Sponsor!
We are excited to welcome Tsuruha Drug on board with an in-kind donation of 500 chocolates and foodstuffs.


New Volunteer Team
Ryuta Ghosh and the National Honor Society volunteers from American School in Japan have taken on Santa Soul Train 2017 as a key initiative for their Winterfest fundraising.

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New Sponsor
Ohana International School, in international preschool in Tokyo, has taken on a lead role in fundraising for the Santa Soul Train 2017, starting with 200 children's stockings.


In-Kind Donor
Hogan Lovells Japan is providing both in-kind support for Place to Grow back office needs, and supporting our fundraising efforts for 2017 Santa Soul Train.  Yesterday at Meiji Kinenkan, we raised over ¥120,000 in sponsored stockings.

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In-Kind Donor
The MIE PROJECT has been a long time sponsor of O.G.A. / Place to Grow.  We are grateful to have their support for in-kind donations to Santa Soul Train 2017.

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New Sponsor
We are excited to welcome Alpha Lab Associates on board as Silver Sponsors for Santa Soul Train 2017!


New Sponsor
We are excited to announce Taiho Pharmaceuticals will be Silver Sponsors this year for Santa Soul Train!


New Sponsor
We are excited to announce Nishimachi International School will be Silver Sponsors this year for Santa Soul Train!

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New Sponsor
We are excited to announce the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has joined us as a Silver Sponsor this year's Santa Soul Train!


New Stocking Sponsor Team
A big thanks to Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club members for sponsoring 15 children's stockings!

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Stocking Sponsor Team
A big thanks to Ayako Kobayashi and the Johnson & Johnson executive and staff for coordinating and sponsoring more than 40 children's stockings!


New In-Kind Donor
Hori Shoten has kindly offered their support by providing children's toys as in-kind donations to Santa Soul Train 2017.


We've raised nearly 80% of our fundraising goal of ¥3,000,000, and nearly half has been from individual donorations of ¥3,000 - ¥30,000.  Thank you for all your hard work in spreading the word.  We are almost there!

This year we need YOU!

Become a Corporate Sponsor




Yosuke Watanabe, a father of two and local businessman says:
“When volunteers are here, we feel the energy to carry on.”

Yukari Hatakeyama mother of 2, and grandmother of 3, also resident of Minamisanrikucho said:
“We don’t need you to make our homes or rebuild our cities.  But we don’t want to feel forgotten.  Just stand by our sides.”

Sponsor Children's Stockings

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship Opportunities


Corporate / School

Sponsor EVENT

Silver Sponsor - ¥100,000
Gold Sponsor - ¥200,000
Platinum Sponsor - ¥500,000

Be a Corporate Sponsor



Secret Santa - ¥3,000
Ambassador - ¥30,000

Be an Individual Sponsor

Give children in Tohoku a big smile for Christmas this year.