Witten by Qihua Luo
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Andrea Barkley
On October 1, 2022, Boston Tzu Chi USA volunteers arrived at Taitung Village early morning to set up tents, carry the supplies, and arrange them neatly. Despite the typical Boston rain, they patiently waited for the residents to come.
This event was the fifth distribution of fruits and vegetables at the Taitung Village by Tzu Chi Boston. Since August 2022, Tzu Chi USA volunteers have been coming to Taitung Village every two weeks to distribute fruits and vegetables to low-income people, the elderly, and the homebound.
Just Do It!
Tzu Chi Alumni Yang Qu started the Taitung Village fruit and vegetable distribution. After joining Tzu Chi USA, Yang Qu, a doctoral student in literature at Harvard University, realized that the Boston area Chinese community needed to be served.
After learning that Tzu Chi Boston had briefly distributed fruits and vegetables during the pandemic to low-income seniors, Yang Qu thought it was worth keeping the distribution. So he and volunteer Wenxin Li started to contact the Boston Housing Department. They were able to reach out to several low-cost housing communities with predominantly Chinese residents. When they discovered a need in Taitung Village, they started to distribute fruits and vegetables in Taitung Village.
Compared to other volunteers his age, Yang Qu has not been with Tzu Chi USA for long. Before joining Tzu Chi Boston, he had volunteered with the Red Cross for a while. However, as a Buddhist, Yang Qu wanted to be involved in services aligned with his Buddhist values. With this in mind, Yang Qu learned about Tzu Chi through the internet. This year, Yang Qu started to lead Tzu Chi to serve the public. It took only two weeks from the fruit and vegetable distribution proposal to the launch of the first event. In addition to the support and help from veteran Tzu Chi volunteers, Yang Qu mentioned that the concept of “just do it” was also one reason the event could move forward so quickly.
They Are Not Alone
Sabrina Lin, Director of Tzu Chi Boston, was one of the prominent participants in the Taitung Village fruit and vegetable distribution. She joined Tzu Chi USA in college in Washington, D.C. Lin continued volunteering while studying at the Department of Dentistry at Tufts University in Boston. She has participated in numerous food distributions.
When she heard about the proposal, she volunteered. “In my experience, our food distributions have been more for the unhoused,” Lin said, “and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asian communities in the U.S. are facing hatred. So we also want to let the elders know that we, the youth, are always there for them.”
For the homebound elderly who cannot go out to collect fruits and vegetables, Tzu Chi Boston volunteers made home visits, all of which were to Chinese taste. The residents were always happy to see Tzu Chi volunteers coming and kept expressing their gratitude for the kindness of Tzu Chi USA.
Tzu Chi Boston Service Center has continued to distribute food with love throughout the years. In addition to the desire to truly help the ones in need, it hopes more people will join in spreading Tzu Chi USA’s love and empathy.