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Jan 31st
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Home Global Activities America Tzu Chi Holds First Distribution in Florida After Hurricane Ian

Tzu Chi Holds First Distribution in Florida After Hurricane Ian

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After Hurricane Ian caused widespread damage to the southeast United States in September, Tzu Chi volunteers in the U.S. held the first distribution on Saturday, October 15, in the hardest-hit areas of Florida, Arcadia City, and Fort Myers City. They helped a total of 235 disaster-affected households.


Charity under the Spotlight

On October 13th, the Tzu Chi relief team received an email from a producer of Fox Weather, who said that, while he continued to report the damage caused by Hurricane Ian to Florida, he had noticed the relief efforts by Tzu Chi in Lee County.

He said that he hoped to interview Tzu Chi on-line. The interview lasted about four minutes. On the afternoon of the 14th, Tzu Chi volunteer leader, Bob Lynch, made a live connection with Fox Weather and explained Tzu Chi’s efforts for the affected households and the disaster situation after Hurricane Ian, and how Tzu Chi coordinated the disaster relief operations.

Lynch explained to the host there are many affected people going to the Disaster Recovery Center every day for help, and Tzu Chi works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small and Medium Business Administration (SBA) to protect the victims.

After the Tzu Chi disaster survey team arrived on October 8, they visited many communities in Lee County, and heard many touching stories. They found that the residents needed a great deal of help. On October 15, Tzu Chi conducted a distribution in Arcadia City and Fort Myers City. Courses 1 and 2 would be distributed and continue each week thereafter.

It Is True

Tzu Chi volunteers improved the level of relief for victims of Hurricane Ian. Considering the soaring inflation in the United States and the serious damage to the homes of those affected, they increased the payment amount. Each household would receive a cash card ranging from US$800 to US$1,200, according to the family size.

When the confirmation information was sent to the mobile phones or mailboxes of the victims eligible for this collection, the team received several calls. The affected did not expect the unconditional relief money to be real. They expressed their gratitude with a lump in their throats.

Luo Ji-yao, CEO of Tzu Chi's Texas branch, said: "Most of the residents here are migrant workers, and they are all agricultural workers with very low incomes."


Thank You Tzu Chi for Coming Here

Arcadia resident Tiare Holliman said gratefully: "We lost all our possessions, and the place where we lived, but we survived. Thank God for sending you here, giving us hope, and moving forward strength."

In the afternoon, the disaster relief team came to Fort Myers to distribute the cash cards. The affected all came to the Disaster Recovery Center to collect the cards. In the same week, they had all applied online, and received the cards at the Tzu Chi booth.

Fort Myers resident Karen Albert said: "The prayer and the singing bring us hope. The second thing is the most important with this thing forward. I will do everything in my power, if I can help anyone, and I'll save my pennies, and all I have, and I will pay it forward."

Charlene McNamara, a resident of Fort Myers, said: "I will be using it (the money) to rent a place because mine is completely gone."

Fort Myers resident Tom Valensky said: "I lost everything. You are so wonderful. Thank you."

Michael, a resident of Fort Myers, said: "I brought my friend here. She lost everything. She got out with her clothes on her back and her purse. (After getting the card), she sat in my car. Her eyes all swell up because she can't believe your kindness. May we give back your tenfold. I promise."

Fort Myers resident Angelica Ramon said happily: "I'm really happy because we receive help. We're going to buy mattresses, and all the supplies we need. Thank you so much. Some people don't believe me. This is the proof. It is real. Thank you."

In the tears of the affected people is the pain of losing everything. In the tight embrace is gratitude for Tzu Chi's help when they are in need.

Tzu Chi volunteers serve with love and work in unity and harmony.
Join Tzu Chi and let us spread warmth all over the world.

Article: Fan Ting, US report

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