Written by Meizhen Qian
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
In 2021, Texas drew new congressional and state legislative maps. With this, Tzu Chi USA’s Southern Regional Office address was redrawn into Precinct 4 in Harris County, Texas, which also encompasses the Southwest Management District. On March 15, Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, the county commissioner for Harris County Precinct 4 in Texas, visited Tzu Chi’s local office to learn more about our service projects in the community.
A Visit From Precinct 4’s Commissioner Cagle
“The Southwest Management District is very supportive of Tzu Chi’s food distribution project, so the two sides have worked very closely in the past two years,” said Kelly Hsu, a volunteer in charge of Tzu Chi Houston’s community food distributions. “At the end of February, we mentioned the 2022 Tzu Chi Walkathon to the Southwest Management District’s Executive Director, Alice Lee. She immediately expressed her support and enthusiastically helped to find a park as a venue for the event, and told us that regional officials could be invited to join.”
Tzu Chi’s community food distribution events have received strong support from the Southwest Management District. Photo/Jong Wu
Soon after, Executive Director Alice Lee also notified Kelly Hsu that Commissioner R. Jack Cagle would be visiting Chinatown to get to know some of the active service organizations in the neighborhood, and Kelly immediately told Sean Lo, the Tzu Chi Southern Region CEO, of this opportunity. On March 15, leaders from the Southwest Management District accompanied Commissioner Cagle to Tzu Chi USA’s Southern Regional Office. Chief Executive Officer Sean Lo, Tzu Chi’s Southern Regional Vice President, Penny Liu, and volunteers, eagerly received the distinguished guests.
During this meeting, Chief Executive Officer Sean Lo spoke about the founder of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, the venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen, Tzu Chi’s history, and our global footprint of compassionate humanitarian relief. This included Tzu Chi’s large-scale emergency relief missions in Texas and across the nation. Chief Executive Officer Lo also detailed Tzu Chi’s disaster recovery projects after major natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey, and the direct, long-term care volunteers provide with the help of selfless individuals worldwide.
Tzu Chi also introduced one of their innovations during this visit. The Jing Si Multipurpose Folding Bed was created as a durable, practical piece of collapsible furniture for use in times of disaster. The easy-to-transport bed can be set up quickly without additional tools, and is suitable for sitting or sleeping. Volunteers unfolded the beds for Commissioner Cagle to see for himself, and presented Tzu Chi’s philosophy on environmental protection and recycling, as well as the founding of DA.AI Technology. Inspired by Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s teachings to “coexist with the Earth,” DA.AI Technology’s environmental model is characterized by compassion for Mother Earth and all sentient beings. Through its plastic reclamation process, DA.AI simultaneously reduces the excessive amount of municipal waste in the world while also minimizing the consumption of natural resources to craft a variety of daily necessities. These items include emergency supplies given to disaster survivors during Tzu Chi’s relief efforts, like our warm, eco-blankets.
After the briefing on Tzu Chi’s community grocery distribution activities and environmental mission, Commissioner Cagle thanked Tzu Chi volunteers for their contributions to the community, and took note of the services that Tzu Chi can provide for future collaborative projects.
The next day, volunteers were delighted to receive a call from Landon Reed, the Assistant Director of the Community Assistance Department for Pct. 4. Assistant Director Reed expressed that Commissioner Cagle’s office would like to participate in Tzu Chi’s community food distribution in April to better understand the needs of the community.
Together, Tzu Chi volunteers hope we can continue strengthening the communities we serve.