Sending Tzu Chi’s Love to Farms in Seattle

Northwest  |  August 14, 2020
Tzu Chi Seattle and Tzu Ching volunteers donate personal protective equipment to farmers in Yakima, WA. Photo/Li-Chia Chang.

Written by Li-Chia Chang & Sabrina Lin
Edited by Dilber Shatursun

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Tzu Chi’s Seattle chapter office has been actively reaching out to those who are in need of food, hygienic supplies, air purifiers, clothing, and facial coverings. This includes members of Tzu Ching, Tzu Chi’s collegiate corps, at the University of Washington (UW), where alumna Cindy knew of a need from a professor at UW.

Dr. Jody Early has been a key contributor of El Proyecto Bienestar, or the Well-Being Project. Its objective: to examine and address sexual harassment as an occupational health hazard among the Washington agricultural workforce. Now, they were looking for personal protective equipment, or PPE. Cindy encouraged her to reach out to Tzu Chi Seattle for help.

Sending Love to Farms

Tzu Chi Seattle volunteer Her-Kait Seet leads the young volunteers in a 90 degree bow, representing humility and respect in giving. Photo/Li-Chia Chang.

On July 25, Tzu Ching volunteers Sabrina Lin and Ming Zhong, as well as Tzu Chi volunteer Her-Kait Seet, met with Dr. Early to donate 2,000 surgical masks and 1,000 reusable cloth masks. They also brought a letter from the CEO of Tzu Chi USA and some Tzu Chi publications.

Sabrina Lin reviewed and explained the items with Dr. Early, in addition to introducing the Tzu Chi Foundation and the work that Tzu Chi does. Ming also elaborated on the programs that Tzu Ching at UW is running locally in the Seattle area. Dr. Early expressed her appreciation of Tzu Chi and its volunteers.

The PPE donation would benefit farmers in Yakima, WA, located in the Yakima Valley which is known for its wineries and apple orchards. Given the seasonal nature of the work, many do not traditionally qualify for benefits and, more often than not, are undocumented. A donation like this from Tzu Chi would show a small token of love to those otherwise overlooked.

To show their gratitude, Dr. Early sent some photos from Yakima farm workers who received masks from Tzu Chi. Photo/El Proyecto Bienestar.

After the experience, Sabrina shared some of her thoughts:

My biggest takeaway from this project is to remind myself to think about those that are usually buried in the back of people’s minds, like these farmers in Yakima. They are just as important as the rest of us and are likely to need help.

It was really inspiring for me to see Dr. Early and [El] Proyecto Bienestar helping to bring the Yakima farmers to the attention of others and for providing us this incredible opportunity to help them. Seeing the pictures of the farmers with the masks we had donated brings me so much joy and gratitude.

Tzu Ching volunteer Sabrina Lin meets with Dr. Jody Early. Photo/Li-Chia Chang.

It is one thing to understand that we are helping people, but another to actually see some of the specific individuals that we have impacted. It’s projects like this that help put a smile on my face, even on a sad day. I am so grateful to be a part of Tzu Ching and to be provided wonderful opportunities like this.

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