Written by Liling Kao
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
One month after Hurricane Ida’s remnants impacted the northeastern United States, causing substantial damages in New York and New Jersey, many residents are yet unable to return home. With these families and individuals close to heart, Tzu Chi’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter held five consecutive distributions after the disaster, the latest taking place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport on November 8, 2021.
Walking along the sidewalks in the city of Elizabeth, NJ, it was hard to believe that a month had already passed. With debris in the streets, the musty smell in the air, and the piles of damaged furniture outside homes, it was as if the storm had only just dissipated. Residents who were temporarily displaced by the floods were tired and concerned, and volunteers were heartbroken.
As the weather grew colder, volunteers prepared thick blankets for survivors to help stay warm, explaining, “This blanket is bigger than the ones you can find on the market. It is thick and warm, and contains the love of Tzu Chi volunteers around the world.”
At the distribution site, volunteers actively listened to the experiences of survivors, providing a much-needed outlet for emotional relief after that frightful night and all that followed.
“I think the help you have given us is very good, and I send a big thank you,” said a survivor named Esteve. “We are suffering, but we will return; we must be positive and keep cheering up.”
As the temperature in October gradually becomes cooler, volunteers continue to visit affected residents each step of the way.