Offering Free Flu Shots and Back-to-School Supplies in San Francisco

Northwest  |  October 28, 2022
Tzu Chi volunteers register care recipients for free flu shots. Photo/Huiyi Chen

Written by Yuzheng Lin
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

With the annual flu season approaching, the Tzu Chi USA Northwest Region San Francisco Branch joined forces with Walgreens Pharmacy to co-sponsor a free flu shot event for the third year in a row to help boost Chinatown residents’ immunity and avoid a dual infection of flu and COVID-19. The event, held on September 3 at Central Chinese High School in America, was designated for residents aged three and above who don’t have health insurance or whose coverage doesn’t include flu shots. Care recipients did not require an appointment, and by the end of the day, 150 people received flu shots with the help of 25 volunteers.

It was another year that we cooperated with Tzu Chi to give flu shots. The volunteers were very enthusiastic and kind. This time was particularly successful; we helped 150 residents with their flu shots. I’m very happy that we helped in protecting their health.

Shun Yan, another pharmacist at Walgreens Pharmacy, said, “This is the first time I participated in this event. I can feel the volunteers’ enthusiasm. I administered 60 shots, very happy. I hope I can participate next year.”

A Tzu Chi volunteer eases a little girl’s anxiety as she is about to get her flu shot. Photo/Huiyi Chen
The volunteers register the elderly with care and accompany them through the entire vaccination process. Photo/Huiyi Chen

As the event took place close to the back-to-school date in California, apart from protecting students’ health with the flu shots, for the sake of the children’s peace of mind, Tzu Chi prepared new school year gifts for them, including new backpacks, books, uniforms, and other school supplies.

Parents and students all expressed their gratitude. Bingzuo Xie, one of the parents, said, “I came here today for the vaccination, and my child got a school uniform and two new school backpacks. They can go to school with new backpacks!”

New school year gifts prepared by Tzu Chi volunteers await the children coming to the free flu shot event. Photo/Huiyi Chen
Volunteers offer the back-to-school supplies to children and their parents. Photo/Huiyi Chen

Thinking Ahead

The September 3 flu shot and back-to-school supply distribution seamlessly combined health protection with charity care. Moreover, as with all of Tzu Chi’s activities, it helped volunteers tailor future aid programs and distributions.

Tzu Chi has been distributing food to low-income families in Chinatown since 2008, so we know the conditions of each family. Such information can be aggregated and updated during each event so that we will be better prepared in advance when it comes time to distribute at Christmas or New Year to help these families.

Everyone serving at the event comes together for a group photo at the end of the day. Photo/Cen Hui Yi

At the same time, the volunteers hoped to inspire giving to help those in need in the future and introduced the Tzu Chi bamboo bank story to the care recipients, among whom 47 families took one home.

Volunteers give Tzu Chi bamboo banks to care recipients to pass on the spirit of giving to help those in need. Photo/Huiyi Chen

Your love and support empower Tzu Chi USA’s capacity to offer charity care such as this. Let’s join hands and hearts to help those in need in our communities!

More News Stories