Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Apr 07th
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Home Our Missions Mission of Charity Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China - Sichuan

Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China - Sichuan

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Tzu Chi Delivers Winter Aid to Thousands Across China
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In Sichuan, the central province devastated by a terrible earthquake in May 2008, the foundation carried out winter distribution for the second year, in several locations. One was the town of Shigu, at the Tianhou Temple, recently renovated after a fire. The supplies were stored in a place where they were protected by guards appointed by the local government. They worked 24-hour shifts, sleeping in tents which barely shielded them from the cold. “Each relief package from Tzu Chi will benefit one old person,” said security guard Zhong Qixu. “The operation has to go smoothly or there will be problems.”

Early in the morning, when the fog had barely cleared, people gathered and the volunteers were busy preparing the supplies. The distribution began at 8:30am. The volunteers bowed as they gave the items to the residents, who accepted them with respect and enthusiasm. “I bought this cotton top for the New Year,” said Zhang Xianglong, a resident of Shigu. “Today is special. Tzu Chi volunteers have traveled a great distance to come here, so it is an important day. Thank you all very much.” One grandmother, named Huang, walked one hour to receive her supplies and thank the volunteers. Touched, they hired a pedicab, while family members and neighbors helped her take back the supplies. Her hometown was affected by the earthquake but she was able to return; with the love and help of relatives and neighbors, she was able to forget the terrible experience. As they remembered their own ordeal, the residents also offered their prayers to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

As in Guizhou, local volunteers played an important role in the distribution. They arrived early and served alongside the visiting volunteers. “Look, there are so many Tzu Chi people devoting themselves here,” said Feng Sunxiu. “We can contribute too, so that is what we are doing. We are very happy too, to see the recipients so happy.” Each bag of rice weighs 15 kilograms. Ferrying several bags at once, even when using a cart, was not easy. They helped with the distribution and cleaning up afterwards. Among them was Liu Xuewei, a teaching assistant at the School of Management at Chengdu University. “This is such a good environment. Every day I am here, I am improving myself spiritually. It’s wonderful. I called my office last night and asked if I could stay an extra day and they agreed.” As a teacher and a father, Liu is concerned that society and education are increasingly focused on material achievements and neglecting the relations between people, purer and simpler. “Here, everyone is motivated from the heart.”

Love from the bottom of the heart can touch others without words. Even a police officer was moved to join and help with the distribution. Those who contributed selflessly were as happy as the aid recipients.

One of the local volunteers was Diao Chunyan, who helped at a three-day free clinic in the town of Luoshui that began on January 16. Those who saw her serving tea and biscuits had no idea of her terrible ordeal. When she began to walk at the age of two, she felt a pain which grew so severe over the years that she could not go to school. It was a congenital hip disorder. Without the money for treatment, she could do nothing but live with the pain. Fortunately, she was discovered by Tzu Chi volunteers, who helped her to get corrective surgery. Today she is healthy and full of gratitude. So she and a group of local teenagers volunteered to help at the free clinic. It gave her a sense of accomplishment. “I feel something that I cannot exactly describe. It is a sweetness that melts in your heart.”


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