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An update on Tzu Chi USA’s Hurricane Ian relief efforts:

Since Hurricane Ian struck, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, also known as Tzu Chi USA, has been providing emergency financial assistance (EFA) to Florida residents who’ve experienced great loss and damage. Our work is driven by the belief that by putting compassion into action, we can truly make a difference.

We thank those who reached out to us and applied for Hurricane Ian relief from Tzu Chi USA. However, after careful review of all applications, and due to our limited resources, we regret to share that we are unable to move further with requests for EFA for those who did not receive an SMS invitation for an in-person appointment.

If you were approved for aid but missed your in-person appointment, we unfortunately will not be able to provide any further aid at this time.

While there is much more we wish we could do, we sincerely appreciate your understanding. We truly wish the best for you and your loved ones as we carry on in our mission to spread compassion and bring relief.

To learn about all our relief efforts through Hurricane Ian, click here. Learn more about Tzu Chi USA at tzuchi.us.

Tzu Chi USA is providing Emergency Financial Assistance to the primary resident(s) of homes that have been severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ian. 

Hurricane Ian is one of the deadliest, costliest, and strongest in United States history. It made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on September 28, 2022, trailing upward through Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas.

Widespread damage to infrastructure makes recovery all the more difficult. Many now face the harsh reality of rebuilding a life from scratch, while others simultaneously grieve the loss of a loved one.

In response to this great suffering, Tzu Chi volunteers are here to bring relief by putting compassion into action.

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in cash card relief
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affected families
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people benefitted
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volunteer shifts

With your generosity, Tzu Chi volunteers on the ground can distribute the following necessities:

Aquatabs® Water Purification Tablets

Medical Kit

Eco-Blankets*

Multi-Purpose Beds**

The first round of food packages, which aim to feed 5,000 families for up to 4 weeks, include:

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Rice
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Shredded Corn
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Cooking Oil
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Macaroni
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Spaghetti
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Beans
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Rice
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Shredded Corn
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Cooking Oil
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Spaghetti
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Macaroni
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Beans

* Warm and durable fleece blankets made from recycled PET plastic bottles thanks to DA.AI Technology. Learn more here.

** Jing Si Multi-Purpose Folding Beds may be used as a bed, double-sided bench, recliner, and a storage bin. Their portability and waterproof, plastic construction make them an ideal choice for dwellings prone to flooding. Read more here.

✝ Based on estimated family/household sizes of 4-6 people.

Tzu Chi volunteers across the South are mobilizing their disaster response through assessments, home visits, and supply distributions at the frontlines of this disaster. Empower us with the vital resources to do it all.

Here is the latest on Tzu Chi USA’s Hurricane Ian relief efforts:

November 2022

November 5

We held our final distribution on Tuesday, Nov 5 helping 820 families, benefiting 2,740 individuals for a relief amount of $681,800. 

So far our Hurricane relief mission has benefited

  • 2,518 families
  • 8,235 individuals
  • $2,227,400 in total aid 

October 2022

October 30

The largest distribution for Hurricane Ian disaster relief took place on Sunday,October 30 at The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County in Fort Myers.

A total of 71 volunteers from our Headquarters, Chicago, New York, Washington, Southern Region, Miami regions worked together to complete the distribution.

A total of 566 impacted households with 1,814 beneficiaries were assisted, with a disbursement of $523,900.

The relief distribution coincided with Halloween and Tzu Chi volunteers decorated the venue with small ornaments encompassing warmth and festive feeling.

Candy and games were also prepared for the cash-card recipients. 

October 29

Our fifth Hurricane Ian distribution took place at the Pine Island Community Church at 10 a.m. on October 29. 

Tzu Chi volunteers visited disaster-stricken households from house to house, led by Southern Region Executive Director Sean Luo due residential complications at The Palms of Pine Island,.

At 2 p.m, our sixth distribution was opened for these impacted households.

A total of 59 impacted households were issued this time, with 214 beneficiaries and a disbursement amount of $55,600.

October 22 - 23

Tzu Chi volunteers returned to Fort Myers to bring love and relief for the second time on Saturday, October 22nd. The next day, they hosted another emergency cash card distribution in Naples, FL, too. Through these two Hurricane Ian relief distributions, a total of $733,100 in direct cash card aid benefited 838 impacted households. Volunteers were deeply moved to see how love abounded at the gatherings, as survivors were eager to pay their care forward on behalf of those who would need help in the future.

October 15

Over the weekend, on October 15, Tzu Chi volunteers in Florida held relief distributions in Arcadia and Fort Myers for survivors of Hurricane Ian. Both communities were hit hard by this tragedy, and didn’t quite know what was in store for them at the Tzu Chi relief event — or the depth of emotion they would feel. Survivors are still recovering in many ways from the disaster beyond the tangible, yet, smiles abounded in the space even amid the tears. It is our sincerest hope that the relief Tzu Chi volunteers bring will help ease the way on the road to recovery, and ensure survivors know their Tzu Chi Family is here for them.

October 10

Aerial shots of Fort Myers Beach, taken by Tzu Chi team members, provide a birds eye view of the massive damage Hurricane Ian caused nearly 2 weeks ago.

At the same time, Tzu Chi volunteers toured part of Fort Myers, including the Caloosa Mobile Home Community, which had been badly damaged. On the street, volunteers saw piles of gutted out debris, including destroyed appliances. Community leader Angelica Ramon says that, among them though, “you’re not going to see a lot of fridges cause people don’t want to throw it, even though it’s damaged, because they don’t have money to buy [them].”

For families that face a grueling path to recovery, one of our collaborators in relief, Zack Stokes, the Regional Partnerships Manager of the American Red Cross, South Florida Region explains that families receiving financial assistance “is an extremely important part of this operation.”

He further says; “[it] can go towards home repair; it can go towards repairing their cars, many of which have been destroyed in the flood or wind; hotel rooms that they can go and get away while they’re cleaning up their homes.” These expenses are just to name a few.

Tzu Chi USA is ready to help. We are accepting applicants for emergency financial assistance (EFA) for households severely impacted by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Lee County. The registration form may be found here.

Alternatively, walk-ins are being accepted at the Tzu Chi USA booth at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center from 9 AM – 6 PM, located at the Lakes Regional Library at 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

October 8

Tzu Chi Relief teams are currently in Florida, assessing the damage done by Hurricane Ian. This weekend, much of this time has been spent in Lee County, which faced some of its worst destruction. For more details, see this blogpost.

October 6

At least 125 people are confirmed dead across Florida and North Carolina, making Hurricane Ian the deadliest hurricane to hit the U.S. since 1935.

October 2

After Hurricane Ian swept through Florida last week, countless homes were left without power. While power companies have been working around the clock ever since to restore electricity, getting reconnected won’t be that simple for many residents.

Taking a volunteer assessment team from Tzu Chi Miami through Everglades City and Naples, Florida (both hard-hit by the Category 4 hurricane), Collier County’s Growth Management Department Deputy Head James French provides an explanation:

“The water would wick up in the drywall, [so] we know it’s in the electrical panels… although services have been restored from the electrical utility and water and sewer utility, the problem is you can’t generate power within the home.”

September 2022

September 30

After causing widespread damage this week and with a rising death toll, Hurricane Ian is set to be among the costliest and strongest storms in US history. Tzu Chi Relief is getting ready to help. We’re planning to…

  • plan and provide hot meals
  • conduct outreach and assessments through the Tzu Chi Southern Regional Office, including current needs for food and fresh water, as well as transportation capability on roads and through local airports
  • liaise with federal, state, and municipal relief agencies
  • liaise with restaurants of the Panda Restaurant Group located in affected areas, plus AAPI-owned small businesses
  • liaise with Tzu Chi volunteers and their families in affected areas
  • and more.

September 28

Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida at the barrier island of Cayo Costa as a Category 4 hurricane.

September 27

As it continues to strengthen through the Caribbean, Hurricane Ian is bearing down on Florida, where it’s expected to make landfall tomorrow.

Mandatory evacuations are underway in some coastal regions ahead of the destructive winds and life-threatening storm surge. We pray for the safety of all in its path and that damages will be minimal. In the meantime, Tzu Chi Relief volunteers are preparing to offer assistance.

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