The Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, U.S.A. set-up shop in the Old TRW building in Rushford over the Labor Day weekend, complete with soothing music. 38 volunteers were on an emergency relief mission in Minnesota focusing on Winona and Rushford.
Residents were eligible to receive financial support; $500 for homes which were destroyed and $300 for homes with major damage. Disaster victims received referrals from the American Red Cross.
Tzu Chi, meaning compassion relief, is an international charitable organization based out of Taiwan with over 5 million supporters and 30,000 certified members. The foundation provides charitable and medical services, humanitarian aid, and offers the largest bone marrow registry in Asia. According to their website, http://www.tzuchi.org, their ultimate goal is for each person who receives relief, be inspired to give comfort and companionship to other disaster victims in turn.
Amy Chong, a Tzu Chi volunteer said, “I quit my job 10 years ago and have traveled to 14 countries. I just want to help people. My heart goes out to these people.”
They were packing up and heading out the door when one last person stopped by and asked for consideration. Without hesitation, a Tzu Chi volunteer sat down and said, “I’ll wait for you.”
Amy Eden, Red Cross Service Center Manager for Rushford, said, “Clients are receiving assistance from the Red Cross. To receive further assistance from the Tzu Chi Foundation is good. They connect with people one-on-one. All Tzu Chi volunteers pay their own way and take time off their jobs to help people in need. They are very friendly and dedicated.”
Written by Stephanie Carter, a volunteer with the Rappahannock Chapter of the American Red Cross assisting with the Minnesota/Wisconsin floods.