The first day of rice distributions for Tropical Storm Vinta and Tropical Depression Agaton kicked off on February 2 with 5,468 family beneficiaries from 21 villages in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.
Despite the calamity that struck them, the recipients remain optimistic. Their positive outlook in life is an inspiration to Tzu Chi volunteers to continue serving.
On February 2, Tzu Chi Foundation’s rice distributions for the survivors of Tropical Storms Vinta and Tropical Depression Agaton benefitted 5,468 families from 21 barangays in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.
Daniel Ramirez, a resident of Barangay Hinaplanon, shared that since he got his claiming stub on January 30, he had been unable to sleep because of excitement. A single father to his two children and with five other members to support, the 20-kilo of rice from Tzu Chi is a big blessing.
But more than the amount of aid they received, it was how Tzu Chi volunteers made them feel that the recipients will always treasure. “I learned that Tzu Chi Foundation can also be a source of love and giving,” observes Ramirez. “I also admire the volunteers because they still wear smiles despite a long, tiring day.”
Hydie Calunod, a beneficiary from Barangay Bagong Silang, emphasizes that it was love that’s circulating around the hall and not pity. “Other organizations will just give the relief and they’re done. Here in Tzu Chi Foundation, there are sign language performances and lessons,” Calunod adds.
Tzu Chi volunteer Cindy Kwok believes that there is no distinction between the giver and the receiver. It just so happened that the latter was struck by a calamity. Hence, whether under the heat of the sun or a drizzle, Kwok was there for the recipients. “This is my small way of helping,” she explains.
If Tzu Chi Foundation gave them rice, the recipients gave something back.
“They were devastated by storms during the Christmas Season. It only means that they celebrated their Christmas and New Year sad – without a home, without food on the table. Yet, they remain positive. Their optimism is contagious. It makes me stop and ask ‘who am I to complain with my life?” ends Kwok.
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