Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
On Thursday, March 3, 2022, a gas explosion and two-alarm fire injured at least 14 people and displaced over 200 community residents in Silver Spring, Maryland. Due to the significant damages, three of six buildings in the Friendly Garden Apartment complex have been declared unsafe to occupy. Mobilizing swiftly, Tzu Chi USA’s Greater Washington DC Region volunteers joined hands with the Montgomery County Government to provide direct relief for 39 families.
In September of 2021, Tzu Chi volunteers collaborated with the local government to provide aid for households impacted by Hurricane Ida in Montgomery County. With this, volunteers were again invited to help survivors.
“A few days after the explosion, the residents of the three buildings have returned,” explained Patrick Campbell, an Emergency Management Professional with the Montgomery County Government. “At present, there are still about 125 people who have nowhere to go. They need long-term housing assistance and some living materials.”
Eleven Tzu Chi volunteers participated in this distribution with the utmost care. Volunteers provided pantry staples, clothing, helped families with paperwork, and offered an attentive ear as survivors shared their experiences.
“I like the way Tzu Chi Foundation operates. They have in-person talks with residents. They create a warm atmosphere, not just through giving relief funds but humanitarian care,” expressed Patrick Campbell. “So we are very grateful to Tzu Chi for being here, and to all the volunteers who participated in this distribution as the community prepares to recover.”
“Today we were to do a simple distribution,” said Chiali Tsai, a Tzu Chi volunteer, “but because of our past compassionate works and the fact that we have so many volunteers, the organizer gave us a whole room so we can comfort residents.”