Marugohan is an innovative project to make food assistance accessible in a way that makes sense to us here by tapping into the best of Japanese culture: (ongaeshi - giving back). We believe this deeply held value can unlock the reticent many feel in receiving food assistance. Marugohan will create virtuous cycle in which people will give back as they receive food assistance. Each time some takes home food they will make a commitment to do something good by paying it forward.
There is a deep reluctance to receive food assistance in Japan. We also lack locations to pick up food assistance. Throughout Tokyo there are less than 20 places throughout the month to serve the 2 million people below the poverty line in Tokyo. In comparison New York City has 1,100; San Francisco has 250; and even Hong Kong has over 200.
Marugohan is an innovative project taps into the best of Japanese culture to make food assistance accessible in a way that makes sense to us here. We don't believe that it is pride or shame the prevents people in Japan from accepting food assistance but rather that desire to give back (ongaeshi - ). Marugohan is an innovative program because users are members and commit to give back to society in the form of good deeds. Maru = circle and gohan= food. We aim to create a virtuous cycle.
People will have access to food on a way that makes sense to them while at the same time reconnect them to society. We see both the financial impact but more good deeds being done.