In the third weekend of March, the news was abuzz as three large fires hit the cities of Caloocan, Pasig and Manila. In a residential area in Calaanan Street, Caloocan City, a blaze of unknown origin had rendered almost 400 families homeless. The survivors, left destitute, had taken temporary refuge in a nearby covered court.
Hearing about the plight of their fellowmen, Tzu Chi volunteers had immediately visited the disaster site after the incident. Yet, they weren’t able to get a copy of the official list of affected families. Undaunted, the volunteers persisted coming back until last March 28 they have successfully distributed claiming stubs to the fire-stricken families. On the same day, a relief activity was conducted at Cross World Kalookan Church. Run by a Born-again Christian group, the religious community had graciously lent their place of worship for Tzu Chi’s mission.
“When I heard that Tzu Chi will conduct their relief distribution for the victims of fire, we opened our doors to them. We are aware of Tzu Chi’s missions and as followers of Christ, we should help make a noble pursuit like this happen,” explains Pastor Rey Isaac.
Prior to the distribution, Tzu Chi volunteers staged a program where they introduced the Buddhist organization to the fire survivors. Established in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen in the impoverished east coast of Taiwan, the foundation is dedicated to the field of charity, medicine, education, environmental protection and the promotion of humanistic values and community volunteerism. Today, it has 57 branches all over the globe and its humanitarian work is both a means of helping the needy and educating the rich.
In the actual distribution among the items given were bags containing eating utensils, a casserole, sleeping mat, blanket, a pair of slippers, a pack of used clothes, a can of mushroom, and 10-kilo sack of rice.
One of the recipients, Maura Reyes, says the aid she had received from Tzu Chi will be of big help given her family’s present ordeal. A single mother, Reyes raises her only child with the small income from being a local midwife. In an interview, she says that she is thankful that Tzu Chi had visited them.
“Right now I have no idea where to start, but we thank you Tzu Chi for giving us hope,” she furthers, adding that the love that Tzu Chi volunteers have shown them and the prayers they received greatly moved her.
The distribution benefitted a total of 370 families.
Pastor Rey Isaac welcomes the fire survivors and Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers into CrossWorld Kalookan Church.The Christian group graciously lent their place of worship for Tzu Chi’s relief activity. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Prior to the distribution of goods, Tzu Chi volunteers staged a short program where they introduced the Buddhist organization to the fire-stricken families. A total of 370 families benefited from the distribution. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
A Tzu Chi volunteer explains how Tzu Chi Foundation was established by Buddhist nun Master Cheng Yen. Through a bamboo coin bank in which the Master’s disciples have dropped NT .50 from their grocery money every day, the first funds for the humanitarian organization’s charity works were collected. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
One of the beneficiaries, Maura Reyes was unable to keep her tears from falling while she follows as Tzu Chi volunteers teach the sign language for the song, “Isang Pamilya” (One Family). In an interview, she admits that she has no idea how to start her life again but she is grateful for the hope Tzu Chi volunteers’ have brought them. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Putting their compassion into concrete actions, this Tzu Chi volunteer smilingly hands the relief items to one of the fire survivors. Aside from the relief supplies, the humanitarian group encourages goodness in the hearts of the calamity survivors. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Aside from relief goods, the beneficiaries received 10-kilo sack of rice. Photo shows one of the beneficiaries, Dionisio Predas receiving with joy his sack of rice. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Another beneficiary, Maura Reyes receives her goods from a Tzu Chi volunteer. As a single mother, she says she has no idea how to start her life again. She also mentions that the help she received from Tzu Chi will ease the burden and the sorrow for the meantime. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】