#MyMaskMyStory: “We are thankful and blessed”

Southern  |  August 26, 2020

Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.

Edited by Dilber Shatursun

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused an increase in crime, unemployment, poverty and even homelessness. As an attorney [here in Wharton, Texas], I am seeing more family violence, unpaid child support, drug and alcohol related offenses, burglaries, and robberies [through the pandemic]. As the Executive Director of Just Do It Now, Inc. [or JDIN], we are seeing more youth get into criminal mischief and substance abuse.”

“Since early March 2020, JDIN has been feeding hundreds of needy children hot meals each day during the week. We have our drive-thru pick up line and we have delivered hundreds of meals to some of the elderly and disabled members in our community. We recently started offering virtual learning programs for our teens at JDIN – allowing them the opportunity to start adapting to the ‘new normal,’ by using JDIN Chromebooks and Wi-Fi.”

“Our first reaction to the mask requirement was, where are we going to find them and how are we going to afford them? So we are thankful and blessed for all the PPE masks that we have received from Tzu Chi USA. Although we did have a small supply of masks that we preserved since the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, they were not anywhere near the quality or quantity of masks that Tzu Chi provided.”

“[It’s] been a tremendous help to the Wharton community in fighting against the spread of COVID-19. These masks [from Tzu Chi] are helping to keep our hospitals open, our children fed, and our community safe. On behalf of the Just Do It Now family and the Wharton community, I would like to tell all of the Tzu Chi volunteers that made the masks, xie xie da jia! [or thank you all in Mandarin Chinese].”

”Words cannot express the amount of love and appreciation that we have for these life saving masks you have made for us. We are forever indebted to you and Tzu Chi.”

James L. Perez is an attorney and executive director and board president of Just Do It Now, Inc. (JDIN) in Wharton, Texas. Their diverse programming addresses the needs of low-income families, children, parents, senior citizens, and more. To catch up on the entire #MyMaskMyStory collection, click here.

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