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Barbara O'Brien

Tzu Chi to the Rescue

By November 12, 2012

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Volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation in New York responded to Hurricane Sandy by cooking hundreds of hot meals for those without their kitchens.  Fortunately, the New York area headquarters of Tzu Chi, in Queens, was unaffected by the storm and could organize the volunteers, who are mostly from Chinese-American communities in New York and New Jersey. The hot food went to people huddled in temporary shelters through the greater New York/New Jersey area.

At one point, volunteers from Manhattan's Chinatown were called upon to bring food to a shelter in lower Manhattan, which was badly flooded and without power. Most of Chinatown was without power, too, but the volunteers cooked enough food for 500 meals by flashlight over makeshift heat sources.

The Tzu Chi (compassionate relief) foundation is an international humanitarian organization founded by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun, and headquartered in Taiwan. Tzu Chi welcomes volunteers of all religious backgrounds, but the organization is firmly established on Buddhist teaching and is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Vows.

I understand as many as 120,000 homes and businesses here in the northeast U.S. are still without power, and that number does not include tens of thousands of homes too damaged to be lived in. Tzu Chi is still accepting donations (and volunteers, I'm sure) to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

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