Providing Relief After Disasters
The World of Tzu Chi | May 8, 2017 by Northwest Region
Tzu Chi’s Northwest region, located in Northern California, follows the compassion of Master Cheng Yen to help the poor, while educating the rich on how they can use their means to make the world a better place. It is a blessing to lift others up who are struggling, and help guide them in times of disaster. Through every relief mission that our volunteers undertake, our motto is this: Reach out to all who cry for help, provide relief in times of need; extend your support to those who are suffering, and bring joy to their hearts. Together, we hope to empower those in need by transforming their suffering, so that all may thrive in harmony.
On February 21, 2017, the city of San Jose, California, began to struggle with voracious floods. Pouring rain, the breaching of Coyote Creek, and the overflowing of Anderson Lake, caused extensive damage, and prompted the evacuation of 14,000 people from their homes. Our volunteers conducted assessment, held multiple distributions, and provided immediate aid and emotional support to affected residents. We also extended our hands in cleaning up communities, and tended to the needs of the homeless.
As soon as the floods receded, our volunteers were on scene at the shelter established in James Lick High School, distributing hot vegetarian meals and cash cards to those affected. During one of our cleanup events, Mayor Sam Liccardo also joined the fray in rejuvenating the community. On March 11, an interfaith dinner was held by our volunteers in commemoration, where all could share their support and experiences after the flood. Through these efforts, we were able to provide compassionate relief that would set these individuals on the road to recovery.
On August 16, 2016, a devastating blaze burned through 3,929 acres and destroyed 300 buildings before it was finally contained. Our relief volunteers responded to the suffering of those affected quickly with compassion in their hearts - especially as this was not the first fire these individuals had suffered recently. Plans were organized, and disaster aid distributions were carried out with diligence to lift the spirits of these families.
The Valley Fire of Lake County scorched 76,067 acres, and forced 9,000 from their homes on September 12, 2015. In response, our relief volunteers began extensive assessments to identify the immediate needs of survivors. A total of 306 individuals received financial assistance. In the following two months, our relief volunteers continued to follow-up with care recipients, and conducted free medical outreach events for the local communities.