Giving Relief Day
Is a Process Infused with Love
When we provide disaster relief, we give so much more than just financial aid. Follow the entire process of how we offer aid to those affected, and see why.
Rockport’s Mayor delivered disaster relief supplies to Taiwan after the 1999 earthquake, and now Tzu Chi was bringing that love back.
Our Volunteers Seek Out Everyone Who Needs Aid
After a disaster strikes, our volunteers travel to the hardest-hit areas to identify the people who need aid. Working in collaboration with FEMA, state and local government, first-responders, and the American Red Cross, we make lists of those who were affected so we can invite them to our disaster relief distributions. Our volunteers strive to make sure no one is left behind, and put a great deal of love into their disaster assessment.
Our Process Invites Community Involvement
The participation of local volunteers is invaluable since it allows us to reach deeper into the community to find those in need of help. When asked to support our efforts to provide aid, local residents feel empowered, drawing people together. Bringing Hurricane Harvey disaster relief to Mesa, an underprivileged area in Houston, proved quite the challenge. However, with the assistance of Eduardo Luna, a local resident, a neighborhood that hadn’t received any aid finally got the help it desperately needed.
The participation of local volunteers is invaluable since it allows us to reach deeper into the community to find those in need of help.
“If you share that love that’s inside then it just passes on and that’s what you all are doing today without any reward expected.” – Stephanie
Our Distributions Create Lasting Ripples of Love
Our disaster relief distributions provide more than immediate financial aid, because how the events unfold also creates a moving experience that people cherish. Stephanie Palmer had received our aid after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and still remembers. Now she was being helped after Harvey, and wanted to thank Tzu Chi’s founder for sending ripples of love into the world. She felt inspired to join the circle and pay the love forward by giving to help others.
“This is too special to just spend on just anything. There’s been too many lives that have been willing to give.” – Aid Recipient
Our Aid Lets Recipients Decide What They Need
We provide direct financial aid that can be used immediately. The cash cards we distribute empower individuals and families to purchase what they feel they most need after their lives have been turned upside down. For some, buying medicine, baby formula, or diapers, is the top priority, yet sometimes, replacing a young child’s toys is what will best help a family cope and begin to recover, and they can.
Each Blanket We Distribute Was Made With Love
Our volunteers always distribute Tzu Chi Eco-Friendly Blankets as a way to show their love and offer warmth to those affected by disasters. These Earth-Friendly blankets, made from recycled plastic bottles, were invented and are produced out of great love for our planet. Our volunteers in Taiwan work with steadfast dedication to prepare each bottle for its transformation to a gift that will be offered to help comfort those in distress.
We distributed 7,729 blankets after Harvey, each offering tangible warmth and comfort to an adult or child in distress after the floods.
Everyone Receives a Letter from Tzu Chi’s Founder
The disaster relief we provide truly comes from the heart, as we collect love from people around the world who donate to help those suffering after catastrophes. Master Cheng Yen, Tzu Chi’s founder, offers a personal letter to each aid recipient to share this fact: “Millions of people in the US and around the world are with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we have all taken action to aid your path to recovery.” That’s heartwarming.
One of the songs is called “One Family.” Everyone naturally gravitates to its message of universal love and solidarity, finding solace as a united group.
Our Volunteers Strive to Soothe People’s Distress
In the aftermath of a disaster, people are deeply stressed and suffering due to fear, sorrow, and worry. We take this to heart and strive to provide emotional and psychological relief during our distributions. Our volunteers always entertain those waiting their turn to receive financial aid, with sign language performances of inspirational songs. Soon, smiles erase furrows of distress as people finally begin to relax, and hope returns.
Making a Genuine Connection Is Our Way
Our way of providing disaster relief is founded on making an emotional connection with each individual we’re able to help. Our approach is one of gratitude for the opportunity to serve, utmost respect for others, and sincere love that inspires the urge to relieve suffering. Our volunteers are there to listen and shoulder the burden of stress and sorrow, like family.
Tzu Chi’s view is that the giver and receiver are simply different roles in a circle of human connection where each participant can equally learn from and benefit the other.
“We all live on the same planet, and that makes us all brothers and sisters. Love is what we have in common; love is what brings us together.” – Master Cheng Yen
We Hope to Inspire Giving as a Way of Life
Tzu Chi began with 30 housewives donating a few cents daily in order to help others. They saved the money in piggy banks made of bamboo. Such banks are part of our story until now. Once the disaster aid distribution process is concluded, our volunteers offer a bamboo bank that aid recipients can take home. In this way, the circle of love can continue and embrace others in their time of great need.
Tzu Chi Global
Disaster Relief Program
Learn more about the immediate financial aid we’ve been offering with love during recent and ongoing disaster relief missions in the United States and internationally, and how each #GivingReliefDay disaster aid distribution rekindles hope.