Written by: Yongshi Huang, Chiuyueh Hung
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Adriana DiBenedetto
In June of 2022, with the sun shining brightly overhead, volunteers from Tzu Chi USA’s Raleigh Service Center began organizing a Back-To-School stationery donation drive in North Carolina. Reuniting with our friends at Durham Rescue Mission (DRM), volunteers wished to help students prepare for the new school year with enthusiasm and peace of mind.
A Back to School Supply Drive Gets Underway
Founded in 1974, the Durham Rescue Mission seeks to provide a safe space for families experiencing homelessness, offering shelter, meals, clothing, and spiritual support. Each summer, DRM holds a Back-To-School stationery distribution for school-age children. Working together, Tzu Chi volunteers in Raleigh mobilized their families to prepare stationery items for children, hoping to bring smiles to their faces.
“This year, we prepared 2,000 stationery items,” said Lenny Sutherland, DRM Volunteer and Phone Bank Coordinator Supervisor. Lenny Sutherland also shared his gratitude to volunteers for their dedicated participation. And indeed, Tzu Chi aims to keep this meaningful activity going.
Young Volunteers Engage Through Service
On the morning of July 1, volunteers gathered at the home of volunteer Chiuyueh Hung to help pack the school supplies. Volunteer Zhixing Chen, who was in charge of the stationery donation drive, also helped allocate tasks, advising the group on how to pack the various school supplies evenly into 30 backpacks. Based on her experience participating in a distribution event at Tzu Chi Academy, Washington DC, volunteer Yijun Chen suggested organizing stationery by type, such as pencil boxes and cases.
Volunteer Yaomin Gao brought his two children, Ruiqi Gao and Rui’en Gao, and volunteer Yijun Chen was accompanied by her two sons, Zilong Xiao and Ziyang Xiao. The children from the two families are almost ten years apart, but right from the beginning of the activity, everyone worked together seamlessly, with a great deal of laughter during the process.
After the sorting was complete, each item was placed next to a school bag. The four young volunteers had been so helpful and orderly, and the adults were truly astonished. Finally, everyone worked together to arrange the stationery neatly into the colorful schoolbags and zipped them up, ready to be taken to DRM for distribution.
Sincere Care For Students’ Academic Success
Each backpack filled with the care and support of volunteers was soon delivered to Durham Rescue Mission. Volunteers from DRM greeted Tzu Chi volunteers, and mothers clapped upon catching sight of the crucial supplies for the coming school year.
Volunteers hope that the warmth and care from this community activity will help ensure children and families know they’re loved, and that they are not alone as they stride toward their goals.