Written by Shuli Lo
Edited by Chenglin Li
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
On July 16, 2022, Alta Skinner, a community advocate and leader in the community of San Dimas, invited former city Councilmember Denis Bertone, and a good friend and volunteer named Christine Heater, to join hands for a visit to Tzu Chi USA’s Headquarters in California. Together, the group visited the Treasure Hut on the headquarters’ campus, hoping to discuss future collaborations that can jointly provide better, more effective services to the community.
Community Representatives Celebrate Care
Since its grand opening on April 16, 2022, the Treasure Hut has attracted many visitors, who stop by to inquire about the building’s unique story. And, as a San Dimas community advocate and a volunteer, Alta Skinner believes in the work Treasure Hut does.
The group contacted the Treasure Hut to explore the efforts of Tzu Chi volunteers through this special clothing donation project, and held a meeting with Debra Boudreaux, CEO of Tzu Chi USA, alongside volunteer Jihuan Xia, the organizer of the project, to discuss future collaborations. “We want to help form a committee to help volunteer with Tzu Chi,” expressed Alta Skinner.
“We are delighted that community representatives came to our campus, and had a very detailed preliminary discussion on the future operation of Treasure Hut,” Tzu Chi USA CEO Debra Boudreaux said. “In the future, they will also use their volunteer power to participate in the work of cherishing blessings and resources. More importantly, community representatives can introduce the concept of cherishing blessings and reusing materials to the city government, school district, and the community. Whether they are seniors or students, they can make good use of the Treasure Hut, and bring the love donated by everyone to families in need of support.”
“Today, we are mainly discussing two projects,” said volunteer Jihuan Xia, who presided over the meeting. “First is the Treasure Hut. The other is the clothing donation project that has been operating for six years. The resources from the Treasure Hut are provided for low-income households; we hope to collaborate with the community and promote the concept of the Treasure Hut, and hope that they can find families who really need these materials to maximize the reach of the Treasure Hut. The second concerns suspended community clothing donations due to the pandemic. Since we have no way to distribute them in the community, we discussed with the community representatives how to collaborate with their venue, time, and people, to provide clothes for distributions on-site.”
Helping Volunteers Complete Their Missions
“Here in California, we have over $6–$7 in gasoline prices,” San Dimas community volunteer Christine Heater said. “People are having to decide, ‘do I fill up my tank, or do I put milk on the table.’” She was thankful to have been invited to participate in this collaboration, pooling everyone’s efforts together to make a positive difference.
Alta Skinner has served for 47 years in San Dimas and has previously worked with Tzu Chi USA’s Headquarters during community relief events. She was moved to learn about Tzu Chi’s work in San Dimas and across the globe, and wanted to help however she could.
Calling on the Community to Join the Team
With the love and perseverance of volunteer Jihuan Xia, the clothing donation project has reached a considerable scale. Clothing items at the Treasure Hut come from all over the world, and each article of clothing needs to be carefully examined and sorted, which requires a great deal of volunteer power. In addition to Tzu Chi volunteers, more community members are hoped to join in.
At present, the clothing is not only provided in San Dimas, but also delivered to Africa, Ukraine, Poland, and other locations in Eastern Europe. At the same time, clothing is also available when Tzu Chi holds grocery distributions and medical outreach in the community. Volunteer Jihuan Xia and volunteers from Treasure Hut take great care when bringing clothing to the sites of Tzu Chi’s relief activities, sorting by season, size, and more, in a tidy fashion.
When we all work together, wonders abound. So let’s join our loving efforts and set a care cycle in motion.