Who we are:
The Ton-a-Month Club is a Christian non-profit famine-relief program, based in Seoul, Korea, which has been mobilizing food aid for the most needy civilian casualties of the North Korean famine since the second half of 1996. Our organization targets its aid to the most vulnerable segments of the North Korean society: children under age 6, orphaned children, single mothers with children, the elderly, and the handicapped.Why we are committed to this activity: back to top of page
We accomplish this by using various delivery systems, including direct shipments to North Korean made by our own volunteers. Our policy is to utilize whichever delivery system that can provide the lowest price/per ton of nutritious foods and can guarantee the most accurate and transparent mode of monitoring food shipments. We have recently expanded our services to include assistance and shelter to North Koreans who have fled to other countries to escape privation in their own country.
Dr. Astrid Heiberg, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies toured North Korea and, in a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, stressed the dire situation facing North Korean children, "Unless the country receives help soon, it is in danger of losing its young population," she said.
At the same time, US Congressman Tony Hall, widely regarded as a famine expert, spent five days touring Pyongyang, Sariwon, Chongjin, Sinuiju, Hamhung and other cities across the northern part of the Korean peninsula. Representative Hall reported that when he visited a food distribution center, which also had some factory facilities, he didn't find any real food, but only "substitute foods". "What they do is grind these weeds and corn stalks into powder and make noodles out of it," he said, adding that grass and corn stalks are indigestible. Hall showed photos he took in North Korea in which a 10-year old boy was 12 inches shorter than what he should be. Villagers in rural areas who are desperate for food have also been reported to boil tree bark and make a bitter-tasting soup out of it.
A local aid agency conducted a survey, the most thorough of its kind, of over 1000 "food refugees" who risked their lives to cross the China/North Korea border in search of food for their families. The interviews revealed a consistent and tragic picture of desperate conditions in which a typical North Korean family loses from 20-30% of its members to famine-related conditions.
What we've accomplished so far: back to top of page
Although we're a small grassroots organization, to date, the Ton-a-Month Club has supplied over 50 tons of food and most recently warm winter clothing to vulnerable groups of North Koreans, both within the DPRK and those who have fled to China.
We've also participated in fund-raising efforts (specifically, two goodwill marches) with other expatriates here in Korea which resulted in over $30,000 for famine relief was raised. On Nov. 18th, 1999 we held a charity concert entitled, "Famine for Love" in the Munhwa Ilbo Concert Hall featuring the internationally acclaimed classical pianist Mr. Sam Rotman and Korean soprano Chang Sun Kyung. We've also introduced other concerned individuals to aid agencies and they have assisted with at least 17 more tons of food assistance.
With others' help, we want to do much more. Our activities have been covered on numerous occasions since 1996 by nation-wide daily newspapers Korea Herald, Korea Times, Chosun Ilbo, Daehan Ilbo, and was given a front-page article in the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper covering the entire Pacific region (reprints of articles are available upon request.)
Our ongoing commitments are to:
1) Obtain the most economical and nutritious foodstuffs that can be best digested by those who are suffering famine conditions. At present these would include corn powder and wheat powder that can easily be made into noodles and eaten with soup. We can currently purchase 1000kg. (1 ton) for about US$150-175. We prefer to purchase grains in China where costs and transport expenses are greatly minimized.
2) Maintain the highest possible degree of person-to-person delivery of food aid instead of government-to-government transfers of food aid. Each month it is possible to review where our food aid has gone, the amount, etc.
How can you help? back to top of page
To make an immediate difference: donations of any size and in any currency are most welcome. The Ton a Month Club is continually surveying wholesale costs on world markets for the most economical price for either whole or powdered corn or wheat. At present, we are able to obtain a ton of corn for about $170 per ton in northern China. In addition, any health care supplies are gratefully accepted. Donations can be sent in several different ways:1) By sending international postal money orders (available at post offices worldwide) to the following postal address-T.A. Peters
K.P.O. Box 677
Republic of Korea
2) Through a direct bank transfer to:Citibank-NA, Seoul
Account Number: 01-71-007359
Account Name: Timothy Alan Peters
International ABA # or Routing #: 10995101
In addition, if you prefer to directly donate food or other useful items to the needy, please communicate and we'll do our best to coordinate such shipments for you.
We also need volunteers who are willing to donate their time in helping us "get out the word" to various sectors of the population about the desperate needs of vulnerable groups of North Koreans. Those with computer and Internet skills would also be a tremendous help in pursuing the dissemination aspect of our work.
Please contact us if you have any questions:
Daytime Phone: 016-327-0115
Evening Phone (after 9:00PM): 82-2-2201-6731 (includes country code)
Post Office Address:
K.P.O. Box 677
Republic of Korea
Relief Updates: back to top of page
On Nov. 18th, a charity concert entitled "Famine for Love" was held in the Munhwa Ilbo concert hall in Sodaemun featuring internationally recognized classical pianist, Sam Rotman, and well-known Korean soprano and professor of voice, Chang Sun Kyung. The concert was sponsored by Ton-a-Month Club and proceeds were given to feed and provide winter clothes for North Korean children who have fled North Korea into the adjoining provinces of China.
Ton-a-Month founder Tim Peters and his wife made their first personal delivery of 5 tons of wheat flour to a noodle factory the North Korean town of Rajin in late June, 1999.
In the past months, the correspondent from the major US network CBS radio stationed in Korea and a member of the Ton-a-Month Club for over a year, handed us $500 for famine relief. To our surprise, he explained that his participation in Ton a Month Club assisted him in obtaining a key position at UNICEF in the Congo for which he'll be leaving this week.
Elementary schoolchildren and their teacher from a US military base in Kyushu, Japan collected and sent to the Ton-a-Month Club a check amounting to $600 to help relieve hunger among children in North Korea after seeing a front-page article about our work in the Sunday edition of Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper.
A Korean tailor and devoted Christian friend of Ton-a-Month Club, recently gave us an envelope containing about $88 for famine relief when we dropped by to see him even though the Korean economy is undergoing severe hardships since the IMF recovery program began just one year ago.
A Michigan community newspaper entitled Mature Michiganians that reaches people in the age range of over-50 in the state capital of Lansing and mid-Michigan USA area carried a full description of our Ton-a-Month program under the title "Missionary to North Korea asks for help from locals".
A major South Korean TV broadcasting station, MBC, interviewed Tim about ways Korea can improve its volunteer programs and Ton-a-Month Club was mentioned as one of our projects.
Korea Herald printed a fullpage article in their Friday, March 12th edition about the Ton-a-Month Club and a recent fact-finding mission taken by Tim and another volunteer to the North Korean/China border. (This article is available in the archives of the Korea Herald Internet Website--http://www.koreaherald.co.kr) Approximately 6 tonsí worth of donations were given in response to this article.
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