Written by Michael Tseng
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska
The novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, began to spread in January 2020. With its infection ratio ten times higher than SARS, it has now impacted every country in the world. In California, the number of confirmed cases rose exponentially once the outbreak reached the state. In response, the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles issued stay-at-home orders.
The directive asks everyone to stay home except for essential outings, such as to the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, laundromat, or gas station, or to pick up food orders, see a doctor, or care for elderly family members or friends. People must also observe a safe social distance six feet apart when they do go out, and most recently, wearing face coverings was recommended.
In some severely affected counties and cities, the authorities can give fines to those who violate the order. However, for many Americans, seeing the rising death-toll in hardest-hit New York City was enough to drive home the grave danger this virus brings, and the imperative need to decrease the rate of infection.
Tzu Chi USA has adjusted some of its activities to comply with the stay-at-home order. In California, for instance, the Tzu Chi Education Foundation suspended in-person classes and transitioned to using online distance learning tools to teach students at home.
To express Tzu Chi’s appreciation for their work at this challenging time, and help keep them safe, Tzu Chi Education Foundation also prepared care packages for staff, teachers, and security personnel. Since facemasks are very difficult to come by now, each care package contains ten facemasks, along with a gift of Jing Si five-grain powder, and a letter of blessing from Dharma Master Cheng Yen.
After receiving the gift, Stephanie Lo, Director of Tzu Chi’s Great Love Preschool in Walnut, said that the care package was extremely beneficial, helping to keep her children and other family members safe. Other staff expressed their gratitude as well, Audrey Sun among them:
Audrey was glad to get the five-grain powder too, the organic mix packed with healthy nutrition as well as love and care from the nuns who live alongside Master Cheng Yen at the Jing Si Abode, in Hualien, Taiwan, and produce it there.
Stephanie Hall, a teacher at Monrovia Great Love Elementary School, was touched by how Tzu Chi cares about everyone’s safety. She said that receiving the package meant a lot, adding that she was thankful for the opportunity to work at the school, knowing she’s part of the Tzu Chi family, and taking pride in the foundation’s good deeds globally.
Monrovia Great Love Preschool teacher Rachael Lopez was equally thrilled about having the facemasks, since they’ll allow her to go grocery shopping with less worry, helping to safeguard the health of her family.
One care package went to a campus security guard. After finding the facemasks inside, he said that he truly needed them to protect himself while ensuring public safety on school grounds. After thanking the Tzu Chi volunteer who had personally delivered the present, he proceeded to read Master Cheng Yen’s letter out loud, appreciating her concern about the wellbeing of everyone affected by the pandemic, and the precious gift of her blessing.
Let’s follow Master Cheng Yen’s example and extend the reach of our love and care far enough to embrace the world. We’re all in this together.
Help flatten the curve with Tzu Chi USA!