Written by: Jennifer Chien
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Patrick McShane
Eloise Gómez Reyes, California State Assembly Majority Leader, and the assembly member representing California’s 50th District organized the 2023 Nonprofit Awards Ceremony on June 3 in Ontario, CA. 25 organizations, including Tzu Chi USA, the American Red Cross, and the American Cancer Society, received certificates of recognition, and the Ángeles Especiales Parent Support Group, which provides assistance to families of children with special needs, was awarded Non-Profit of the Year.
Reaching Out to the Community
“Today was the nonprofit of the year ceremony. We had over 200 nominations.
And we selected 25 as our honorees.” said Majority Leader Reyes, “Tzu Chi has been helping our community for many years, especially in initiating emergency relief efforts after disasters. I remember that Tzu Chi was first invited by Gary Liao, the owner of Lucky Farms, to start food distribution and free clinic services. Tzu Chi continues to come here to provide shoes for children, organize food distribution and free clinics, and provide a lot of help to our community. I am really thankful for Tzu Chi’s assistance to our community.”
“(I am) really grateful Tzu Chi is recognized in this community. Talk to different organizations today for the whole of San Bernardino there are many things we can do. Talk to different organizations today for the whole of San Bernardino
there are many things we can do. Everyone does charity and goes deep into the community we can do more and go deeper.” said Debra Boudreaux, CEO of Tzu Chi USA Headquarters, “We were able to connect with different organizations in the community through the awards ceremony. We’ve learned that there is so much more we can do for the community. In the process of promoting charity by all and sending warmth to the community, we can connect with different organizations and root ourselves in the community to do deeper and wider work.”
Since the early 1990s, Tzu Chi USA has been regularly visiting San Bernardino County, in inland Southern California, to provide fruit and vegetable distribution and free medical services to migrant farmworkers and new immigrant families. It has also coordinated with school districts and the local government to go into schools where 90% of the students are from low-income families to promote the positive development of the community and encourage low-income families to participate in the community’s development through case counseling, scholarship distribution, character education, charity care, and other programs, as well as encouraging students from low-income families to actively pursue their studies and improve their lives through education.
Greater Strength Made Possible Through Collaboration
The Awards Ceremony took the form of a tea party during lunchtime at an Ontario community farm owned by one of the award-winning organizations, the Caramel Connections Foundation. The Foundation had transformed a city-provided park into a community farm. Neighbors are invited to join in and help grow fruits and vegetables. The harvest is then distributed to those in need in the community.
Caramel Connections Foundation’s CEO Elizabeth McSwain met with Tzu Chi for the first time during the ceremony. “I would love to visit Tzu Chi USA’s eco-farm. By infusing the experiences of different cultures and backgrounds, we can collaborate and share what we are doing, and work together to solve the problem of food shortages for families in our community.”
Frank Su, a Tzu Chi volunteer, was happy to share, “Volunteers from other organizations came over and told me that, I know about Tzu Chi, you have done many, many things for the San Bernardino community. I’m happy that Tzu Chi is being recognized by the community.”
A Tzu Shao, Tzu Chi USA’s youth volunteer group, Annabelle Lu, participated in today’s event and felt that she gained something particularly special: “Seeing all the multitude of non-profit organizations here today I’ve learned that service with a compassionate heart is not limited to one. But rather it’s encapsulated by us all over our kindness each day.”