Joining Hands at the Annual Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair

Central  |  October 11, 2022
Tzu Chi volunteers interact with students at the distribution in Dallas, Texas. Photo/Shirley Wu

Written by Shirley Wu
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto

With a new school year on the horizon in Dallas, Texas, the city’s annual Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair was held during the first weekend of August, on Friday, August 5, 2022. Each year, families are invited to join in this free distribution event that brings together many local government agencies and charitable organizations to distribute essential supplies and resources. 

Tzu Chi volunteers distribute uniforms and school supplies, and introduce parents to Jing Si Aphorisms from our founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Photo/Shirley Wu

Care Brings Peace of Mind

Parents at the distribution shared that the pandemic has generated enduring and far-reaching impacts on their financial situation, while the price of uniform shirts has increased substantially. These ongoing effects, parents expressed, are one reason why the Tzu Chi distributions are so important to them. They not only help allow their children to go to school happily, with peace of mind, but reveal the power of love and care within communities.  

Victoria Alvarado, a mother of seven, told volunteers that the cost of school supplies for her children has also become increasingly daunting. 

Getting Tzu Chi’s uniform really helps me a lot. It takes a lot of the burden off of me. I can spend about thirty dollars less on uniform tops for one child, I have seven children, so these supplies really help!

Victoria Alvarado, Parent

“Getting these uniforms today is a huge help to me because prices have gone up so much lately, not only for food but also for the supplies that the kids need. The prices are much higher than they used to be,” said another parent, Maria Mullins. “The kids need to wear uniforms, and from my personal experience, the school my kids go to costs $23 just for the uniform tops, so I really feel very blessed, and this is a really big, big help. It’s so good to have you here.”

A parent named Cristina Blanch also spoke with volunteers, saying, “Most distribution booths give pencils, erasers, notebooks, etcetera, but Tzu Chi provides uniforms, which is really surprising to me. This is definitely a great help; parents can send their children to school with peace of mind at the start of the school year.”

Thirty volunteers from Tzu Chi Central Region provide boxes of uniforms and school supplies for distribution, and arrange them in an orderly manner. Photo/Shirley Wu

Resuming After Two Years

Due to the pandemic, the Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair was paused for two years, from 2020–2021. This year, the event resumed on August 4–5, 2022, as U.S. pandemic prevention policies gradually eased. Tzu Chi volunteers delivered their blessings to the children who will start school soon. A total of 30 volunteers mobilized to participate in the distribution and preparation. In addition to free uniform tops, the Tzu Chi Central Region also distributed face masks and disinfectant wipes to the students who came to pick up the supplies.

People regularly visited the Tzu Chi table at the distribution site from 9:00 AM to the end at 2:00 PM.

The greatest meaning of volunteering is to ‘seize the moment and do good in time,’ which makes you feel younger and vigorous as you accumulate your own blessing and wisdom.

Weifen Zhang, Tzu Chi Volunteer

In the face of the prolonged effects of the pandemic and all of its manifestations, severe inflation, and so much more, volunteers sincerely hope that their support can continue to warm hearts, and ensure families know we’re here for them. After the distribution, volunteers also presented Tzu Chi bamboo banks to attendees, sharing their origin story and literature to spread seeds of love and kindness in Dallas. 

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