JMECAA Gives Back through Joint Event with Second Harvest Japan

“Competition Participants & 2HJ Director Charles McJilton.”


JMECAA Gives Back through Joint Event with Second Harvest Japan

On Saturday April 15th, JMECAA ran an exciting 1-Day Volunteer Strategy Competition with one of the NPOs most aware of the impact of poverty in the community and Japan’s first ever food bank - Second Harvest Japan (2HJ). Our goal for the event was simple – to devise a fun event that would help them improve their business model through access to the talent pool of JMECAA, while at the same time offering JMEC alumni the chance to reconnect with their peers, have a professional development experience, and apply what they learned through JMEC for a good cause. 

Twenty JMEC alumni and friends met bright and early on Saturday morning at 2HJ’s premises to start the day with an introduction to the organization’s work and vision by its founder and CEO Charles McJilton.

Since its incorporation in 2002, 2HJ has been working to develop a food safety-net to serve those in need.  After Charles gave an introduction and briefing on the strategy competition, alumni were split in to three teams before being given a personal tour of 2HJ. During the tour, they were able to learn more about 2HJ’s operating model and see firsthand how it sources, processes, stores and redistributes its products to those in need. 

Following the tour, teams split up and began to devise their strategy plans to address the challenges outlined by Charles. The teams brainstormed to provide answers to: How can a food bank expand its model of operation? How can it identify those most in need of its services, and how can it reach them more effectively? These are just some of the questions that were discussed before lunch, which was kindly provided by 2HJ from its central kitchen, which alumni had toured earlier that morning. 

After lunch, teams continued to refine their proposals before regrouping mid-afternoon to make their final pitches. With each team presenting innovative ideas, Charles provided feedback on each proposal before making his decision.  Members of the lucky team wona a bottle of wine each.  Everyone who participated left with the knowledge that their ideas could potentially help 2HJ improve its business model and reach even more who could benefit from its services. 

One participant described the event as, “A great chance to think about a challenge being faced by a real business, and provide ideas that could be immediately implemented. It really felt like being back on JMEC, and was fun to use what I learned through JMEC in a real-world setting.” 

Charles was also pleased with the outcome – “A lot of great ideas, and a lot of insight about the challenges 2HJ is facing. I’m excited to move forward with some of the recommendations and am grateful for the fresh perspective that the JMEC alumni provided today.”

Learn more about JMECAA and the regular events by clicking here.


JMECAA is the Alumni Association of JMEC, the Japan Market Expansion Competition. One of the association’s main aims is to harness the talent and energy of its diverse group of alumni and contribute positively to the local community through collaborative events with non-profits and other charitable organizations.