Written by: Shu Li Lo
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Patrick McShane
According to the latest census, the United States has more immigrants than any other country – more than 45 million in total, or 13.6 percent of the population. People from all over the world immigrate to the United States for a variety of reasons, from searching for economic opportunities to escaping war, persecution, or climate disaster.
With its vast territory and vast resources, the United States is a dreamland for many, in terms of both the quality of life and its democratic system of governance. For the past few centuries, many people have come to this land in search of their own American dream; but not all of these new immigrants can make their dreams come true. Many times, new immigrants run into financial issues, can’t find a job, or end up in a difficult situation in an unfamiliar land.
Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Region recently collaborated with independent charitable organizations in the Los Angeles area to distribute living supplies to some recent immigrants who are struggling on their way to achieving their own American Dream.
Some new immigrants who came to receive supplies said, “We want to work, but we can’t find jobs right now.”
Not being able to find a job means not having an income. This financial stress, when coupled with post-pandemic inflation, and rising cost of living expenses, is undoubtedly worse for the recent immigrants. With these struggles in mind, Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Region began working with independent charitable organizations in the Los Angeles area that help immigrants in need. Together they started distributing daily necessities to new neighbors, helping them address urgent needs as well as alleviating some of their financial hardship. All this was done in the hope that the assistance will help them have a steadier path towards achieving their American Dream.
On August 2, Tzu Chi volunteers held their monthly food distribution for the third time since June of this year in the parking lot of the America Legion in Monterey Park, California.
Vera Yeh, one of the volunteers, said, “Every time there are at least three kinds of vegetables and fruits, we use this food distribution to introduce the benefits of a vegetarian diet.”
Since the distribution was not held on a weekend, many Tzu Chi volunteers were unable to participate, so some of the recent immigrants joined the effort by forming a volunteer team to help with registration, carrying supplies, and traffic direction. 340 portions of fruits and vegetables were distributed in two hours in the afternoon. In addition, volunteers also thoughtfully prepared diapers, baby clothes, and children’s clothes for parents to pick up as needed.
Volunteer Flora Yeh said, “For example, they are the new immigrants who direct the traffic outside because they know their own people better. They are the ones who do the registration or directing the traffic outside.”
One person can move far, but a group of people can move farther. Sustainable charity is something that must be accomplished through partnership. Tzu Chi USA and individual philanthropists are working together to assist recent immigrants to the United States, in the hope that they will be able to settle down, stabilize their lives, and create the independent homes that they have envisioned.