Bellevue’s Hokkaido Ramen Santouka didn’t wait long before doling out assistance to nonprofits.
The restaurant, which opened in April, on Wednesday presented Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson and Jordan Hill with a $10,000 donation for the CR3 Diabetes Association, which the teammates represent. CR3 provides diabetes testing supplies and insulin pumps to uninsured patients. Santouka CEO Jun Yoneda flew in from Japan to present the gift.
Both Seahawks’ families have been affected by diabetes. Hill’s father battles the disease, while Wilson’s father — who steered Russell toward college athletics rather than accepting a pro baseball contract in high school — died of adult onset diabetes in June 2010.
“It was almost four years ago that my dad died,” said Wilson, who has been CR3’s ambassador since 2012. “So to be with this community tonight is a true honor.”
Santouka has a history of teaming up with athletes. The company’s CEO, Jun Yoneda, was the general manager of a Japanese professional baseball team and often hosts ballplayers at his restaurants.
“I’ve learned how important it is to contribute to the local community, and I’m glad I can do so through my connections in sports,” he said.
The restaurant also announced Wednesday a charity partnership with malnutrition nonprofit Table for Two. During the month of June, Santouka will donate 25 cents per bowl of ramen sold to the charity, which will partner with area school districts to provide school meals to low-income children.
Charles Ray III, president of North Carolina-based CR3, was pleased with the generosity from a vendor in Wilson’s and Hill’s community. He said the $10,000 will cover the cost of a six-month supply of insulin pumps, and such donations are thanks in large part to Wilson’s involvement in the charity.
“When I first sat down and had a conversation with Russell, I could tell he’s on a different plane intellecutally,” Ray said. “We’ve never met a young man like him.”
Ray first reached out to Wilson in 2010, shortly after Wilson’s dad died from his diabetes. Four years, an NFL draft and a Super Bowl win later, and the quarterback helped Ray secure a donation that will assist others suffering from diabetes.