Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Sep 27th
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Home Global Activities America Pool our Power of Love to help People in Mayfield, U.S.

Pool our Power of Love to help People in Mayfield, U.S.

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After listening to Tzu Chi’s disaster relief plan, Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan could not hold back her tears in front of Tzu Chi volunteers. She was strong and did not let her emotions show during interviews and meetings after the tornado ripped through her city. She told herself every day: “I can’t cry today.” Wonder why? Here is the story.

On December 10-11, tornadoes tore through the American Midwest – leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Tornado activity began in northeastern Arkansas, before moving into Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Kentucky was particularly strongly hit, with 75% of one town razed to the ground.

A single tornado ripped across four states continuously over such a long distance. What could be done to help? Tzu Chi volunteers could not bear to see these faraway places suffering such devastation. On the very next day, the Tzu Chi St. Louis assessment team started their trip to the disaster area. On December 15, another Tzu Chi assessment team drove 400 miles from Chicago, IL to Mayfield, KY. This city suffered horrific damage from the tornadoes.

The assessment team had a meeting with the Red Cross with whom they have cooperated for many years. They also met Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan. The Tzu Chi volunteers set out the logistics of large-scale distributions before Christmas to help those affected. Each household would receive US$1,000 in emergency assistance and blankets, scarves, masks and Christmas gifts that people chose themselves.

After hearing this plan, Mayor O’Nan could not help but cry in front of the volunteers. She said: “When your organization told me about the monetary amount that they are going to spend here, $1,000 to everyone who's lost their home, it all spilled out. It all came out. That is, everybody's been so generous but this one just really hit me specially. Pretty much our entire downtown area is destroyed. Our citizens are hurting. Some of them have lost their home, their transportation and the ability to continue to work.”

Tzu Chi volunteers always keep Master Cheng Yen’s words in their hearts. They remember the Master saying: “When we provide aid, we want people to feel that the aid they receive is substantial, not just a few material supplies.” Master Cheng Yen regularly tells volunteers to go ahead and give the aid the affected residents need. The aid Tzu Chi provides must make them feel that they have truly been helped.

On December 17, In Defiance, OH, Tzu Chi volunteers hosted a distribution to 95 households with emergency financial aid of $1,000 to each household. On December 18, Tzu Chi St. Louis volunteers hosted a tornado relief distribution in Hayti, southeast Missouri; 24 households received emergency cash cards containing $1,000. Meanwhile, Tzu Chi Midwest volunteers continued their plans and preparations for large-scale distributions in Mayfield.

The Mayfield Sports Complex was chosen to host large-scale distributions as early as Wednesday, December 22, to Thursday, December 23.

Tzu Chi volunteers came because people there were suffering. Our world needs more kind-hearted people, regardless of ethnicity. Tzu Chi volunteers all do the same thing -- to give of themselves for disaster relief and reduce people’s suffering and hardship.

Let us pool together our power of love. Hence, no matter what the disaster nor the location, those affected can receive help, and the power of love comes together from different places.

You can also contribute your love. Join us in bringing love and meaningful care to tornado survivors!

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