Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 19th
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United States-medical and charity services

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The city government of San Jose, California, held another Project Homeless Connect in the San Jos  Convention Center on May 15. It brought together over 40 governmental and private organizations to provide medical and charity services for the homeless in the city.

This was the fifth time that the Tzu Chi Northern California branch had participated in the event. It contributed volunteers, daily necessities, and a mobile dental clinic.

A larger number of homeless people showed up for the event this year, possibly a sign of a worsening national economy. In less than three hours, the volunteers handed out two bus tokens and a bag of daily necessities to each of the 150 recipients. Likewise, the 30 coupons for the day's dental care were claimed quickly by the long line of waiting people. The high cost of visiting a dentist in the United States makes it literally impossible for the homeless to get dental care. The volunteers planned to reach more recipients during its next distribution slated for the end of the year, also in San Jose.

Fernando Cazares, the administrator of the project, estimated that over 700 homeless people would come for the day's services. He thanked Tzu Chi volunteers for their enthusiastic participation over the years. He singled out Tzu Chi's free dental service--two dentists and ten volunteer assistants staffing a mobile dental facility--was unprecedented in the history of the project. He also led all the volunteers and homeless in observing a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Sichuan earthquake in China. He even urged the participants to make donations to help quake survivors. Although not much in monetary terms, their donations were a way for them to show their compassion.

Additionally, participants could get free haircuts and have their toenails and fingernails clipped and trimmed. There were also many used shoes that were free for the taking.
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" Material objects were meant to be tools for us to use. Yet, lacking wisdom, we are perpetually discontent, and we thus become enslaved by material objects. "
Jing-Si Aphorism