Written by Yong Shi Huang
Translated by Ariel Chan
Edited by Jiali Liu, Andrea Barkley
The end of the year is typically the busiest in the United States. All over the country, parents prepare Christmas and holiday gifts for their children. But, whenever this season comes around, volunteers at the Raleigh Service Center of Tzu Chi Greater Washington DC Region turn their hearts toward the children in the Durham Rescue Mission.
Every October, Tzu Chi Raleigh volunteers organize a toy drive, hoping to help children from these disadvantaged families have a Christmas with gifts like other children.
The toy drive takes place over two months. This year, they focused on gathering toys for 0-3-year-olds and 10-12-year-olds. After the toy drive activity ended on November 30, Tzu Chi volunteers packed all the toys at a volunteer’s house. It was drizzling that day, and the volunteers worked diligently moving the toys from cars to the home.
The volunteers worked closely together, packing gifts. Volunteer Shenghong Chen set up a temporary table to make it easier for everyone working. The volunteers packaged each gift with care. Some carefully put a Tzu Chi USA logo sticker on each toy.
There were many excellent gifts for the children, including lego building blocks, jigsaw puzzles, games, dolls, and music boxes. After packing two large boxes full of toys, volunteer Shenghong Chen brought out handmade bread for everyone to eat. He had stayed up late the night before to make this bread, and this sincerity moved the volunteers deeply.
Although the weather was cloudy and cold, everyone gathered to do good deeds, enjoyed warm food, and filled each other’s hearts with sunshine.
After confirming the time with the Durham Rescue Mission, volunteers gathered at the Mission’s parking lot on the afternoon of December 11. They had two large boxes of toys to donate.
Mr. Matthew from the Durham Rescue Mission accepted the toy donation for the children. Then, looking at the two big boxes of toys in the trunk, Mr. Matthew smiled happily and thanked Tzu Chi for its continuous care.
After transporting the toy boxes, Matthews and Tzu Chi Raleigh volunteers happily took a photo in front of the toys.
The activity ended successfully in a warm and joyful atmosphere. This simple act of “Christmas care” for the children in the shelter is another ripple of Tzu Chi’s ocean of kindness sent to the larger world.