Home Missions Environmental Protection Promoting vegetarianism, one meal at a time

Promoting vegetarianism, one meal at a time

Tuesday, 22 August 2017 10:10 AM | ARTICLE BY | Erin Uy
The production line is busy as Tzu Chi volunteers settle into a rhythm of packing the boxed lunches. Mixed vegetables are added at the beginning of the assembly line, followed by the radish cakes and side dishes, before the rice and taopao is added at the very end of the line.【Photo by Erin Uy】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi upholds vegetarian advocacy with its annual lunch pack campaign that runs for one month from August 22 to September 21. The program is also the Buddhist organization’s way of celebrating the Auspicious Month.
  • Tzu Chi volunteers work to prepare over 800 lunch packs to be shipped to various homes, schools, and offices around Metro Manila.

The month of August is traditionally known as the Hungry Ghost month in Chinese culture. However, Tzu Chi Foundation aims to make the celebration an auspicious one by promoting the spirit of vegetarianism.

Between August 22 and September 21, Tzu Chi volunteers will be cooking vegetarian lunch packs for dozens of participants. The tall order calls for over 800 lunch packs to be prepped and shipped to homes, schools, and offices around Metro Manila. This is part and parcel of Master Cheng Yen’s tireless advocacy of transitioning to a vegetarian diet, where the benefits outweigh the detriments. For the weary worker, it gives them additional energy to last the day.

Preparations for the campaign began as early as August 18, with a team of Tzu Chi volunteers heading out to Balintawak Market in Quezon City. In order to save time, the kitchen team led by Tzu Chi volunteer Lu Lee Ching buys what they need in bulk.

“Since it is the second year for this event, preparing everything is much easier. As Master Cheng Yen says, she is a consistent advocate of going vegetarian, and we want to spread the awareness that having at least one vegetarian meal in a day is beneficial,” says Lu.

Preparing more than 800 meals to ship out for the day is a daunting task. With the help of Tzu Chi volunteers from Barangays Old Balara and Pasong Tamo in Quezon City, however, the process goes smoothly. The kitchen is busy with activity as Filipino and Chinese volunteers wash and skin radishes, peel and cut carrots and various other vegetables, and prepare them for cooking.

Tzu Chi volunteer Marites Pilapil, part of the kitchen team, shares that this is her first time to join an activity of this magnitude. She just joined the ranks of Tzu Chi volunteers earlier this year. Despite getting little sleep the night before, she shares that it is well worth the effort.

“When you see others working around you, the feeling of helping just overcomes you, and you forget your fatigue. Seeing everyone else focused on their tasks not only helps keep you busy as well, it also makes everyone feel good,” she remarks.

Once the dishes are ready, the volunteers form up along the assembly line. The boxed meal on the first day, August 22, includes mixed vegetables, radish cake, as well as meat-free nuggets, squash and string beans, white rice and taopao (bean curd skin wrapped in seaweed).

Advocating Healthy Eating

Over at the combined offices of Peridou Inc. and Global Apex Ventures, 30 employees have placed an order of the vegetarian boxed meals made by Tzu Chi volunteers. One of these employees is Christopher Dabu, who serves as a corporate secretary.

Originally, he was not fond of eating vegetables. Through the influence of his boss, he started making room for healthier options in his diet.

“Whenever we have a Christmas party here, the food that is served during that time is vegetarian. When I tasted it for the first time, I realized that it was delicious, and I started to put more vegetables in my diet,” he shares.

This marks the company’s first participation in the campaign, actively encouraged by Peridou, Inc. owner and Tzu Chi volunteer Henzie Yunez. She shares that their company had started an initiative known as ”Meatless Mondays” to promote a healthier lifestyle among the employees.

“It’s important to plant the idea of doing something good. Planting good seeds and being able to show active compassion, even if it’s just something simple like changing your eating habits, even if it’s just for one meal a day,” she shares, referencing Master Cheng Yen’s advocacy.

“Let us support Tzu Chi Foundation, especially when it comes to eating a vegetarian diet, because overall it is a big help. For those who haven’t tried eating vegetarian dishes, please try it, because it will help improve your body, and it also tastes good,” Dabu ends.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2017 10:10 AM

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